A couple who tried to cheat an Indonesian woman by claiming they could help her relatives get visas to Taiwan have been arrested in a sting set up by police.

The Indonesian woman, who lives and works in Hualien, Taiwan, and is married to a local man, became a victim of an Indonesian couple who posed as immigration specialists. The woman paid them almost NT$600,000 (US$19,127) as handling fees for processing applications for legal work permits for her relatives.

The mother of three who had been naturalized as a Taiwanese citizen after marrying a Taiwanese man 20 years ago, met the two named Yanto, 57, and Mary, 58, when they visited her snack shop, according to information released by the Yuli police station under the Hualien County Police Bureau on June 2.

The couple gained the trust of the woman by dining at her eatery, chatting with her in Bahasa Indonesia and claimed they specialized in handling work permit applications. They said they could help her relatives get work in Taiwan.

The woman had two relatives who wanted to work overseas, prompting her to pay for the couple’s services and she handed over a total of NT$600,000 (US$19,127).

However, the couple failed to produce any paperwork and demanded more payments, so the woman contacted the police. Officers then set up a sting operation and arrested the couple for alleged conspiracy to defraud.

More than NT$51,000 ($1,625) in cash, gold necklaces, rings, mobile phones and ATM cards were seized from the couple as evidence. They were referred to the Hualien District Prosecutors Office for further questioning.