Taiwan ex-minister loses $50k in phone fraud

Taiwan's former Economics Minister Yiin Chi-min has fallen victim to a phone fraud, paying NT$1.2 million (US$40,000) in ransom for the release of his son who had never been kidnapped, police said yesterday.

Yinn declined to talk about details of the case, saying police are investigating it.

Police have arrested three underage suspects from an alleged gang behind the fraud, disclosing that Yiin received a phone call in May claiming that his son had been kidnapped and demanding a ransom of NT$1.2 million for his release.

Yinn, 61, currently a presidential adviser, paid the ransom before reporting the case to police.

The former minister has a son and daughter, the former currently working in a company in Taiwan and the latter studying in Japan, according to the Central News Agency.

Police set up a task force and managed to identify the three suspects, who took delivery of the ransom money from Yiin. Police said the arrested were allegedly couriers operating in Taoyuan for the fraud gang.

The three suspects have been refereed to the Taipei District Prosecutors Office for further investigation and their case will be handled by the juvenile court in Taoyuan, police said, adding they are still trying to track other members of the gang.