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Taipei City Police Apprehends 119 Cash Mules in 10 Days

    Since the conclusion of the 9-in-1 elections, the TCPD has poured heart and soul into the war against fraud, enacting the “Anti-Cash Mule Project” from December 10 to 19 in an effort to protect civilian property and display the government’s determination in combating fraud. Utilizing big data analysis to discern hotspots of cash mule activity as well as popular operation hours, the police were able to instantly review surveillance footage and apprehend the fraudsters and their acolytes, eventually nabbing the whole fraud syndicate.

    Throughout the program, 75 cases of fraud were cracked and 119 suspects collared (102 cash mules, 16 operators and 1 accomplice), and 13 cellphones were discovered, linking their crimes to 280 victims and over 29 million NT dollars of unlawful income. The cases have been referred to their respective Institutes of jurisdiction on charges of fraud, organized crime and violation of the Money Laundering Control Act.

    According to statistics from the NPA, as of 2018 a total of 669 cash mules have been apprehended, 218 more as compared to 2017. This marks a 48.33 percent increase in case-solving energy for the TCPD, the most significant in Taiwan. An analysis of cash mule activity types reveal 67 percent (454 persons) to prefer utilizing ATM transactions, followed by face-to-face transactions at 20.78 percent (139 persons). 40 percent of total fraud attempts were “fake relative” scams, followed by “fake government agencies” at 25 percent.

   Notably, an officer from the TCPD Crime Investigation Division was on his way to work when he discovered a cash courier (Surnamed Liu, born 1958) acting suspiciously near Hanzhong Street Post Office in Ximending. He tailed the suspect, called for support and asked to see the man’s papers as he prepared to perpetrate a withdrawal. Mr. Liu denied the allegations at first, claiming that he was withdrawing gambling money owed to him. Only when the police found 6 different ATM cards on his person and examined his cellphone text content did he confess that he was indeed a cash mule. Liu stated that he had been recruited via newspaper ad to help collect overdue payments for a certain gambling ring, and that for every successful transaction he could garner 800 to 1,000 NT dollars in rewards. He bemoaned how he had only been on the job for little more than a week and had earned only 5,000 NT, only to be apprehended unceremoniously; he also expressed fear and regret in the face of impending lawsuits and compensations owed to the victims of fraud.

    The TCPD hopes to carry out purging programs against fraudsters and telecom scam organizations on a periodic basis, so as to safeguard a benign living environment for Taipei citizens. The TCPD would also like to remind the public that fraud schemes tend to adapt to the times, and when picking up a suspicious call or text, it is paramount to first dial the NPA’s 165 Anti-Fraud hotline or seek out assistance from nearby police stations. Furthermore, to encourage civilians to join the initiative against fraud, a 10-thousand-NT-dollar reward has been instated for anyone who provides clues that lead to apprehension of cash mules or couriers, and a 200-thousand-NT-dollars reward if said clue leads to the busting of a fraud syndicate.

    Police strength is limited, while that of the public is infinite. The TCPD would like to invite citizens to participate in the war against crime, and stop fraudulence once and for all.