Turkish police nab 18 Chinese nationals in fake cryptocurrency gang bust

Turkish Police escort suspected gang members in Istanbul on Saturday, March 13, 2021 (DHA Photo)

Turkish police busted a gang, nabbing 18 Chinese nationals who rented nine separate villas in Istanbul’s Silivri and Büyükçekmece districts to operate a fake cryptocurrency call center to swindle funds, reports said Saturday.

Police carried out the raid after two of the workers, who were forcefully held by the gang to work for them, fled the posh villa complex in the two districts and went to the Chinese consulate to seek help.

Hongwu Z. (29), and Kang W. (28), who made the appeal to the Chinese Consulate in Istanbul, told officials that they came to Turkey upon seeing a job posting in the financial sector. They noted that after starting their job, they were forced to sell fake cryptocurrencies to swindle money from people in China. The duo fled the villa on March 5 to seek help from officials, who immediately notified the police about the incident.

Some 101 foreign nationals who came to Turkey on tourist visas and whose passports were seized by the gang, were forced to work for them, according to the investigation.

The captives included computer engineers and other tech experts, reports said. Some 30 police squads and 100 police officers participated in the raid, in which 18 suspected gang members were detained. Six of the detained suspects were arrested by the court.

The people held captive in villas included four Kazakh nationals, two Turkmenistan nationals and 95 Chinese nationals, Anadolu Agency reported. The foreign nationals were sent to the local immigration directorate’s repatriation center after procedures, the report added.

In their raid, the police seized TL 1,635,425, 23,792 yuan, 4,020 Filipino pesos, $238, 50 euros, 123 passports, 32 identity cards, residency permits, drivers licenses, 712 mobile phones, 64 desktop computers and 48 laptops, bank cards and other equipment used by the gang.

Source: Daily Sabah