LIMA, PERU — Police in Peru have rescued 44 people from Asia who were captured by a Taiwanese criminal organization that used them in an extortion scheme in the South American country, officials in Lima said Monday.
The foreigners were forced to make calls to companies in Malaysia and Taiwan to demand money while posing as police or justice officials, General Carlos Malaver, the head of the police’s people smuggling investigation unit told AFP.
Of the people rescued in an operation carried out in a Lima suburb over the weekend, 43 were from Malaysia and one from Taiwan, he said. They worked only at night and lived in cramped conditions, given only one meal a day.
Six Taiwanese and two Peruvians were arrested.
The captives had entered Peru in September, lured via social networks with promises of work in casinos in the capital. They told investigators they were taken to Amsterdam in the Netherlands and then to Peru.
Once there, members of a Taiwanese crime group known as Red Dragon took away their passports and cut them off from communication with relatives, police said.
A police operation was mounted after two women managed to escape and alert the authorities.
Investigators seized more than US$10,000, dozens of cell phones and bank cards from the house where the foreigners were held.
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