Philippines arrests 44 Taiwanese linked to online blackmail with help from China, Taiwan

Philippine police say they have arrested 44 Taiwanese who allegedly ran an online blackmail syndicate that defrauded victims in China and Taiwan by duping them into thinking their bank accounts have been used by money launderers or terrorists.

Senior Superintendent Gilbert Sosa of the police's Anti-Cybercrime Group says the Taiwanese men and women were arrested in two hideouts in central Iloilo province Wednesday by police and immigration agents. Several laptop computers, telephone sets and other telecommunications devices used by the syndicate were confiscated.

Sosa said Thursday that Chinese and Taiwanese authorities helped track the syndicate by passing on details provided by victims.

The arrests are the latest success scored by a government crackdown but they also show how cybercrime groups have continued to operate in the Philippines.