357 Arrested in Massive Cybercrime Sting

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Police in the Philippines recently arrested 357 foreign nationals for their involvement in a massive cybercrime operation.

"The Philippine National Police's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission raided at least 20 houses in Manila, Marikina, Antipolo and Quezon Cities and in Cainta town in Rizal," GMA News reports.

"Those arrested are accused of ... a scheme in which the group would use internet-connected computers to call phone numbers on mainland China," writes Sophos' Paul Roberts. "The caller would purport to be a Chinese police officer and would tell victims that their bank accounts were being used for money laundering and to fund terrorist activities. Victims were encouraged to transfer their entire bank balance to a 'safe account' provided by the scammers in order to avoid action by the authorities."

"Arrested during the operations, which were covered by search warrants issued by Manila Regional Trial Court Judge Marino de la Cruz Jr., were Chinese-Filipino Maria Luisa Tan and Jonson Tan Co, said to be the financiers of the group," write The Philippine Daily Inquirer's Kristine Felisse Mangunay and Marlon Ramos.

"Police said that the suspects were mostly nationals of Taiwan and mainland China who had moved their operation to the Philippines following a Chinese police crackdown on cyber crime and fraud operations," writes V3.co.uk's Shaun Nichols.

"According to Chief Supt. Reginald Villasanta of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC), the suspects were charged with violation of the Access Devices Regulation Act of 1998," writes Digital Journal's Leo Reyes. "'This is undoubtedly one of the largest anti-fraud stings in the Philippines in recent years,' Villasanta said. The syndicate reportedly makes at least P20 million per day from the illegal operations."