Indonesia arrests 88 Chinese nationals

Indonesian police said Wednesday they have arrested 88 Chinese citizens for involvement in a cross-border telephone and online romance scam syndicate after receiving a tip from the Chinese security ministry.
The suspects, including five women, were arrested on Batam island, next to Singapore, said Riau Islands police spokesperson Zahwani Pandra Arsyad. They were working from a shophouse, a building with mixed commercial and residential use, in an industrial park. Police believe the suspects are members of a telephone fraud and online love scam syndicate, Arsyad said.
Most of their targets appeared to be fellow Chinese who were called over the internet and tricked into transferring money after the callers manipulated the “human emotion” of the victims, Arsyad said. A preliminary investigation showed the gang had been operating since early this year, ensnaring hundreds of victims in China, but it is unclear how much money they had collected.
“We are still investigating this case, including whether any Indonesians among the victims,” Arsyad said, adding that none of the suspects can speak or write the Indonesian language. “If there are none, we would deport all of them immediately.”
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