Scam Town, The Chinese Village Where Nearly Everyone's A Phone Scammer

24 Mar 2019 04:24 166
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BMWs, Porsches and mansions dot Chang Keng village in Anxi, where just a few years ago, farmers in one of China's poorest regions relied on tea leaves to eke a living. But when tea prices crashed in 2011, they turned to a new business - phone scams. And it has become a fount of illicit wealth.

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For instance, scammers impersonating Chinese officials cheated Singaporeans out of S$13 million in 2018 alone. “Some people say that the Taiwanese taught the Anxi people how to scam,” said Beijing-based crime journalist Suki Sun.

When authorities in Taiwan and mainland China intensified the crackdown on phone scamming syndicates, such operations have relocated elsewhere in the region - such as remote places in the Philippines.
 
In October 2018, after 2 years of investigations, a group of Chinese scammers were caught in Ilocos Norte, 400km from Manila. Police footage of the raid shows tiny cubicles packed in a concrete-encased building, where the scammers stayed hidden for months on end to avoid detection. 

(EDIT: This is an updated version of the earlier video posted here: https://youtu.be/_uIQMpp4ll4)
 
In a special investigation, the series Talking Point goes on the international trail of phone scammers. Watch the 2-part special here: https://cna.asia/2up6HRW

Go behind the scenes with host Diana Ser: https://youtu.be/4embgaXHEdE

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