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13 Apr 2023

Lin Chang-shun & Matthew Mazzetta, Focus Taiwan

Cambodia & Taiwan: Taiwanese court sentence nine defendants to between 11 & 18 years imprisonment for their roles in human trafficking and job scams

"Crime ring leader gets 18 years for trafficking 88 victims to Cambodia", 13 April 2023

The leader of a Taiwanese criminal gang that trafficked 88 victims into forced labor in Cambodia has been sentenced to 18 years in prison, according to the Taipei District Court.

In a ruling issued …, the court said it had sentenced Lee Chen-hao (李振豪) to 18 years imprisonment and eight of his accomplices to prison terms ranging from 11 to 16.5 years, while also confiscating over NT$3.6 million (US$118,000) in illicit gains.

According to the verdict, members of the ring began posting ads on Facebook … offering high-paying, Cambodia-based jobs in customer service for gaming and gambling websites.

After the victims arrived in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and other locations, members of local criminal organizations took their passports and forced them to work in telecom scam networks, or pay large ransoms to return to Taiwan.

Those who refused to work or did not meet their performance targets would be beaten, locked in solitary confinement, or even sold to other criminal gangs, the verdict said.

According to prosecutors, Lee and his accomplices ultimately trafficked 88 Taiwanese people to Cambodia, receiving between US$17,000 and US$18,000 for each victim from Cambodian criminal organizations…

During the trial, four of the defendants, including Lee, denied any wrongdoing, while the other five admitted to some of the allegations against them.

The court said it had found all nine defendants guilty of human trafficking, directing or taking part in organized crime, and profiting by fraudulently causing another person to leave the Republic of China…