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Taiwan's authorities investigating 46 profiteering cases of medical supplies

TAIPEI - The Criminal Investigation Bureau yesterday said that it was handling 46 cases involving suspects allegedly attempting to profit from the COVID-19 pandemic by disrupting the supply of sanitizers, masks and other items.

Bureau Deputy Commissioner Chu Tsung-tai (朱宗泰) yesterday told a news conference in Taipei that the agency was investigating suspects believed to be involved in the stockpiling of masks and illegal gambling based on its findings and anonymous tip-offs.

The bureau has since January uncovered 113 cases of illegal online gambling involving 247 suspects, he said.

Ten of the stockpiling cases have already been sent to prosecutors, including one in which a 24-year-old Taichung man surnamed Wang (王) allegedly sold masks online, but did not deliver them to customers, the bureau said.

Police obtained a warrant for Wang’s arrest after several people filed complaints with authorities, it said.
Investigators found that Wang’s bank account was tied to several online accounts used to sell masks, Ninth Investigation Corps squad leader Chiu Cheng-ti (邱承迪) said, adding that 80 people transferred money to the account, but none received masks.

Investigators tracked Wang down using surveillance footage after he withdrew money from the account at an automated teller machine, Chiu said.

Police on March 19 searched Wang’s residence and found five bank books, five bank cards, three mobile phones, two SIM cards, several relevant computer files, two small pouches of amphetamine and a bullet, he said.
Wang received an estimated NT$210,000 (US$6,929) in transfers to the bank account, he added.

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