Philippine police arrest nearly 500 in alleged online fraud

In this photo provided by the Philippine National Police, SAF (Special Action Force) members escort Israeli nationals following a raid at Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga province, Thursday, June 7, 2018, in Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines. (AP)
Updated 07 June 2018
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Philippine police arrest nearly 500 in alleged online fraud

  • The suspects lured victims into investing in foreign stocks in a purportedly flourishing London-based company then took their money through an online app.
  • 474 Filipinos and 8 Israelis were taken into custody following the raid on three buildings in Clark Freeport, a former US Air Force base north of Manila.

MANILA: Philippine police arrested nearly 500 people, including eight Israeli nationals, who they say were involved in an online investment fraud that victimized people overseas, including in Australia and South Africa, police said Thursday.
In one of the Philippines’ biggest anti-cybercrime busts in years, 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 Anti-Cybercrime 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 victimizing other foreign nationals all over the world,” Albayalde said. State prosecutors were assessing criminal complaints against the suspects.
Some foreign victims traveled to the Philippines and reported to the police details of the alleged fraud after obtaining information from some disgruntled syndicate members, Marcos told reporters.


Gangsters attack train passengers in Hong Kong after night of violent protests

Updated 37 min 56 sec ago
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Gangsters attack train passengers in Hong Kong after night of violent protests

  • Groups of men in white were seen by eye-witnesses with poles and bamboo staves at a nearby village
  • The Hospital Authority said 45 people were injured in the Yuen Long attack
HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s opposition Democratic Party is investigating attacks by suspected triad gangsters on train passengers on Sunday, after a night of violence opened new fronts in the political crisis now deepening across the city.
Screams rang out when men, clad in white t-shirts and some armed with poles, flooded into the rural Yuen Long station and stormed a train, attacking passengers, according to footage taken by commuters and Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting.
Some passengers had been at an anti-government march and the attack came after several thousand activists surrounded China’s representative office in the city, later clashing with police.
Lam, who was injured in the attack, said he was angry about a slow police response after he alerted them to the trouble, government-funded broadcaster RTHK reported.
Lam said it took police more than an hour to arrive after he alerted them and they had failed to protect the public, allowing the triads to run rampant. The party is now investigating.
“Is Hong Kong now allowing triads to do what they want, beating up people on the street with weapons?,” he asked reporters.
Police said early on Monday they had not made any arrests at the station or during a follow-up search of a nearby village but were still investigating.
Yau Nai-keung, Yuen Long assistant district police commander, told reporters that an initial police patrol had to wait for more reinforcements given a situation involving more than 100 people.
Groups of men in white were seen by eye-witnesses with poles and bamboo staves at a nearby village but Yau said police saw no weapons when they arrived.
“We can’t say you have a problem because you are dressed in white and we have to arrest you. We will treat them fairly no matter which camp they are in,” Yau said. Hong Kong has been rocked by a series of sometimes violent protests for more than two months in its most serious crisis since Britain handed the Asian financial hub back to Chinese rule in 1997.
Protesters are demanding the full withdrawal of a bill to allow people to be extradited to mainland China for trial, where the courts are controlled by the Communist Party, fearing it would undermine Hong Kong’s judicial independence.
They are also demanding independent inquiries into the use of police force against protesters.
On Sunday police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse activists on the edge of Hong Kong’s glittering financial district after they had fled China’s Liaison Office.
The Chinese government has condemned the action, which saw signs and a state symbol daubed with graffiti.
The unrest in Hong Kong marks the greatest popular challenge to Chinese leader Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012.
The Hospital Authority said 45 people were injured in the Yuen Long attack, with one in a critical condition. Some 13 people were injured after the clashes on Hong Kong island, one seriously, the authority said.
Some police had been injured in the clashes after protesters hurled bricks, smoke grenades and petrol bombs, said a police statement.