Kaohsiung, Aug. 29 (CNA) Seven job seekers, lured with high-paying job offers by a suspected criminal ring only to be forcibly confined in an abandoned bunkhouse in Kaohsiung and have their bank accounts used for criminal purposes, were rescued last week and five suspects arrested, police in the city said in a statement Monday.
A man surnamed Peng (彭), 22, is the alleged leader of the gang, which placed job adverts touting high pay and easy work, to lure job seekers to hand over their bank passbooks, bank accounts and personal seals to be used for money laundering, according to the police.
Once the criminal ring received those items, the victims were kept in an abandoned bunkhouse in Kaohsiung’s Jiasian District against their will and were beaten if they resisted or tried to flee, according to the police.
A female victim in her 40s, was reportedly shot with a stun gun and beaten with a water pipe after being caught trying to flee having written down the license plate number of a vehicle belonging to the suspected criminal ring. Others were allegedly burned with cigarettes, the police said.
An individual who successfully escaped confinement on Aug. 25 called the police from a nearby private home. Police immediately headed to the abandoned bunkhouse and arrested five suspects on site, including Peng.
At the location, stun guns, chilli and pepper sprays, handcuffs, metal rods, wire nails, account books and bank cards were seized, while seven individuals being held were freed.
After interrogation, the five suspects were referred to Ciaotou District Prosecutors Office and the Kaohsiung Juvenile and Family Court for investigation on suspicion of involvement in organized crime, offenses against personal liberty, causing bodily harm and money laundering, the police said.
The police also determined that Peng is a wanted criminal convicted of armed robbery two years ago, who received a sentence of seven years and 10 months in jail and went on the run.
He was sent directly to jail after being arrested.