A total of 19 men – two Taiwanese and 17 Vietnamese – have been charged with participating in organized crime and attempted aggravated fraud.

On Thursday, Taichung District Prosecutors Office accused a man surnamed Fong of receiving NT$400,000 from a mastermind to set up a scam call center in Shalu district in central Taichung City last September, the China Daily News reported.

Seven Vietnamese nationals – later identified as illegal migrant workers or tourists – were recruited to conduct phone scams in the call center, in which they impersonated post office staff, police officers, or court officers and made calls to people in Vietnam, allegedly threatening innocent people of sending packages that contained illegal items.

Victims who believed the scammers were instructed to pay specific accounts via ATMs and suffered financial losses.

In August 2018, the second accused, surnamed Hsiao, set up a call center on Yucheng Street in Taichung’s Taiping district, where 10 Vietnamese nationals were hired to undertake fraudulent activities.

These operations were exposed and shut down when Taiwanese authorities stormed the two alleged premises on December 20 – arresting 19 men and confiscating mobile phones, computers and victims’ personal information as evidence.

However, the Taiwanese government has yet to receive a formal reply from Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security to help identify victims scammed by the call centers.