Philip­pine po­lice ar­rest nearly 500 in al­leged on­line fraud

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Asean Focus -

PHILIP­PINE po­lice ar­rested nearly 500 peo­ple, in­clud­ing eight Is­raeli na­tion­als, who they say were in­volved in an on­line in­vest­ment fraud that vic­timised peo­ple overseas, in­clud­ing in Aus­tralia and South Africa, po­lice said Thurs­day.

In one of the Philip­pines’ biggest anti-cy­ber­crime busts in years, na­tional po­lice chief Os­car Al­bay­alde said 474 Filipino em­ploy­ees and the Is­raelis were taken into cus­tody fol­low­ing the raid on three build­ings in Clark Freeport, a for­mer US Air Force base north of Manila, where the al­leged on­line fraud was com­mit­ted.

The sus­pects lured vic­tims into in­vest­ing in for­eign stocks in a pur­port­edly flour­ish­ing London-based com­pany then took their money through an on­line app af­ter ob­tain­ing their bank ac­count and credit card de­tails, said Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent Marni Mar­cos, who heads the na­tional po­lice An­ti­cy­ber­crime Group.

The Is­raeli men were ar­rested “while in the act of man­ag­ing, op­er­at­ing and man­ning the three tar­get build­ings” while the Filipinos were caught com­mu­ni­cat­ing and do­ing on­line trans­ac­tions with for­eign clients from Europe, New Zealand, Aus­tralia, South Africa and Rus­sia, Al­bay­alde said in a state­ment.

Po­lice video shows of­fi­cers with as­sault ri­fles, backed by spe­cial forces units, barg­ing into a vast of­fice and re­peat­edly yelling “Hands up!” while or­der­ing some of the sus­pects not to touch their com­put­ers. Some of the Is­raelis could be seen be­ing led away in hand­cuffs.

Po­lice seized ev­i­dence from the com­put­ers show­ing they were “en­gaged in a fraud­u­lent on­line trad­ing ac­tiv­ity that in­volves millions of US dol­lars vic­tim­is­ing other for­eign na­tion­als all over the world,” Al­bay­alde said. State pros­e­cu­tors were assessing crim­i­nal com­plaints against the sus­pects.

Some for­eign vic­tims trav­elled to the Philip­pines and re­ported to the po­lice de­tails of the al­leged fraud af­ter ob­tain­ing in­for­ma­tion from some dis­grun­tled syndicate mem­bers, Mar­cos told re­porters. – AP

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