As officers dealt with the suspect, his wife fiddled with a phone. They snatched it from her and found that she had reset it. This caused panic all round.
“Everyone was scared to death. If we didn’t have the phone, we didn’t have anything,” said Yao. “A Tier 3 caller like him … will definitely (not confess).”
The investigators spotted a backpack by her feet and found two phones inside that had not been reset — the wife had run out of time, Yao reckoned — and which were brought back to the Criminal Investigation Bureau for forensic analysis.
The accused’s court case is ongoing, and although his Maserati has been seized, it cannot be sold until he is convicted.
KNOCKING ON DOORS, MAKING IT HARDER FOR SCAMMERS
Another arrest followed in December, after 10 months of investigating the syndicate.
Police swooped on this suspect — a “fairly young” man who looked “very civilised”, described Su — as he stepped out of his home in Taichung, a city just south of Miaoli.
The man denied everything, which meant the police had to produce evidence within 24 hours or release him.
So when officers saw a message pop up on his phone’s screen, from a sender in Singapore saying “I’ve reached home”, they called Jay Li Chien-Chih, a Taiwanese liaison officer in Singapore who, in turn, alerted the local police.
The sender’s name, however, provided “very little” to work with, said Toh. This person had not made a police report of a scam, so the Singaporean police had to check other “data points”, Toh said without further disclosure.