Taiwanese suspect arrested in Hungary

By Joseph Yeh, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — An R.O.C. citizen has been detained since earlier this week by Hungarian authorities on telecoms-fraud charges, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said on Wednesday. The Taiwanese was arrested along with 34 other R.O.C. citizens as the Hungarian police’s anti-fraud team raided an apartment in Budapest on March 27, MOFA spokeswoman Eleanor Wang told local media. Police found a large number of smartphones, computers and other communication devices during the raid, leading to their suspicion that these suspects may have been engaged in some form of illegal activity. Police promptly contacted Taiwan’s representative office in Budapest over the arrest, with the office dispatching diplomats to check on the suspects wellbeing and offer translation services during interrogations, Wang said. Thirty four of the 35 Taiwanese arrested were later released following initial probes. The remaining suspect is believed to be the ringleader of the operation, and is currently under detention awaiting further investigation, she said. Wang added that as the investigation is ongoing, the representative office is still unclear over what potential charges the suspect may face. Wang’s comments came after the case was made public by Hungarian media reports. According to an English-language Hungary Today report released on Tuesday, Hungarian police made the arrest in a house in Budapest’s 2nd District in response to the call from a neighbor that someone required assistance.

Upon arrival, they found a number of Taiwanese men and women who were being held there against their will. Following a search of the house, police determined that an illegal gambling operation was being run from the building. Investigators seized laptops, mobile phones, and tablets. They also arrested a 35-year-old R.O.C. citizen, on charges of unlawful imprisonment and organizing illegal gambling, the report said. Early reports in the Hungarian media indicate that the women were engaged in forced-sex work.