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Thursday, Oct 29, 2020

Chinese ‘fake cop’ scams fleeing Beijing’s crackdown are setting up in Southeast Asia: Indonesian police

Chinese ‘fake cop’ scams fleeing Beijing’s crackdown are setting up in Southeast Asia: Indonesian police

Indonesian police arrest 85 Chinese on suspicion of running a ‘fake cop’ scam that targeted victims back in China. The arrests are the latest in a string of cases to have occurred in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore
Chinese con artists are relocating to Southeast Asia to evade a crackdown by Beijing, according to Indonesian police who this week arrested 85 Chinese nationals accused of running a “fake cop” scam.

In the latest Chinese-run scam to have been caught operating out of the region, con artists posed as police officers, prosecutors and bankers to cheat victims back in mainland China out of their savings.

“They told their victims they had legal problems and demanded money to settle the issue,” the Jakarta police chief Gatot Eddy Pramono said on Monday.

Some scammers had pretended to be bankers offering investment schemes and convinced their victims to transfer money to banks in mainland China.

“The reason they come to Indonesia is because there is a clampdown in China and hence they have to run away to foreign countries as it is not possible for them to remain back home,” said Gatot.

The latest scam, which is thought to have cheated its victims out of US$2.5 million, comes after a string of other cases in which Chinese-run operations in Southeast Asia targeted victims in mainland China.

Last week, Malaysia arrested 680 Chinese suspected of running an internet investment scam from Cyberjaya, while a “fake cop” scam in Bali last year – in which one victim lost more than US$500,000 – led to the arrest of 103 Chinese.

Last September, Indonesian police arrested 18 people from mainland China and 29 from Taiwan in another fake cop scam based in the Riau islands of Sumatra, while Singapore police say they too have noticed a re-emergence of scams involving impersonations of Chinese officials.

Authorities in the Lion City said mainland Chinese victims had been cheated out of at least US$3.5 million in 65 cases between January and April this year and that scammers had modified their operations to include Bitcoin transfers.

Gatot said the suspects in the latest scam had been arrested in six locations across Jakarta, apart from one suspect who was arrested in Malang, East Java.

They had all entered Indonesia on tourist visas and had been in the country for 3 to 4 months. All their victims were in China and the operation had been conducted following a tip-off from the Chinese government.

Gatot said the suspects were part of a network that the police hoped to unravel over the next two weeks.

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