At least 88 Chinese citizens have been arrested in Indonesia for their involvement in cross-border online romance scams, said the police after receiving a tip from the Chinese security ministry. Police believed that the suspects are part of a telephone fraud and online love scam syndicate.
According to Riau Islands police spokesperson Zahwani Pandra Arsyad, the Chinese nationals were operating from a shophouse in an industrial park located in Batam Island. Most of their targets appeared to be fellow Chinese who were tricked into transferring money after the callers manipulated them by building their trust and affection.
The scammers usually created a fake profile with another person’s photo and direct communication. They attempt to influence the person to the extent when they see an opportunity to ask for money. Common reasons for asking money generally include medical emergencies or travel costs.
The Chinese nationals were arrested on Batam Island, located close to Singapore. Five of them were women. The syndicate had come from China to Indonesia in January on tourist visas because of a crackdown by Chinese authorities on their networks. They now stand the risk of deportation.
“We are still investigating this case, including whether any Indonesians among the victims. If there are none, we would deport all of them immediately,” said Arsyad, adding that none of them could speak or write the Indonesian language.
He further said that the Indonesian police are working closely with immigration officials and China’s Ministry of Public Security in dealing with the suspects.
Madukwe B. Nwabuisi is an accomplished journalist renown for his fearless reporting style and extensive expertise in the field. He is an investigative journalist, who has established himself as a kamikaze reporter.