The influence of the COVID-19 pandemic this year (2021) has resulted in many countries closing down their borders. However, the pandemic has also led to new and more diverse types of criminal activity, as criminal organizations turn to new methods of money laundering in order to hide the financial gains from their illegal activities. The Bureau, in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association (JTEA) and the Australian Office (AO) held the "2021 Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF) - Workshop on Anti-Money Laundering" on the 26th of May this year, facilitating through an online conference a discussion over enforcement of anti-money laundering experiences. This workshop had the goal of enabling our Bureau to work together with global law enforcement agencies in order to fight crime, as well as strengthen information-sharing activities and international cooperation between the agencies.
To further facilitate knowledge exchange between government and academia and to deepen the academia-industry collaboration, the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB) hosted "Cross-Strait Relations International Symposium 2021: The Development of Current Cross-strait Status: Challenges and Opportunities in the Taiwan Strait in 2021 & Beyond" at the MJIB on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. The symposium, conducted in English, focused on the cross-strait situation and discussed its relevant issues.
To strengthen Taiwan-US law enforcement cooperation and jointly combat corruption and money laundering crimes, on April 15, from 9 am to 11 am, Taipei time, the U.S. Department of Treasury's law enforcement agency—the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)—in cooperation with the Investigation Bureau under the Ministry of Justice, and other agencies, held the Online Seminar on Corruption and Money Laundering Prevention. The IRS' experts on criminal investigation and international lecturers shared their experiences with our law enforcement officers, described the Foreign and Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and spoke about cross-border money laundering, among other criminal practices, using actual cases of overseas bribery to explore criminal methods, violations of laws, financial investigation techniques, asset seizures, and court judgments, etc. Nearly 30 investigators attended the meeting.
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, many international collaborations have been put on hold. However, crimes related to COVID-19 have been surging. To share Taiwan's experience in epidemic prevention and expand international collaboration in law enforcement, the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB), along with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association (JTEA) and Australian Office Taipei, organized a virtual workshop on October 28, the "2020 Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF) - Workshop on Combating COVID-19 Related Crimes". The objective was to discuss how to tackle epidemic related crimes and disinformation.
To investigate voter bribery, spreading of fake news, and other cases that affect the fairness of elections, the Investigation Bureau has established and deployed the "Two-in-One Election Investigation Program" and "Team for Processing Fake News that Impact National Security and Elections" and it established the "Fake news Prevention and Control Center" on August 8, 2019 to rapidly increase the capacity for investigating fake news, conduct active investigations to effectively deter the spread of fake news and prevent them from severely affecting the fairness of elections.
The trade war between the United States and China has led to the return of many Taiwanese businesses and the domestic investment environment is being reviewed once again. The stability of power supply and absence of power outages are primary concerns for Taiwanese businesses who seek to return and invest in Taiwan and they are major policies of the government.
In October 2018, the Investigation Bureau investigated two false messages that were intended to jeopardize the “nine-in-one” election. Former Deputy Chief Liu of the Kaohsiung Police Bureau Sanmin Second Precinct was involved in posting forged sanction letters with Tsai Ing-Wen’s name to specific chat group on Line with the intent to influence voters. Another man surnamed Zhu was involved in posting images on the “Han Kuo-yu fan group” on Facebook that threatened 7 legislators, including Hsu Chia-ching, Deputy Secretary-General of DPP, and Chao Tien-lin. These two cases were transferred to the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office for reference and processing.
In December, 2018, Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation (THSRC) actively reported the attack on its T-Express mobile ticketing system by a hacker to the Taipei City Field Division of MJIB. The hacker purchased one ticket from Nangang to Taipei at the fare of NT$40 and immediately canceled the ticket. When applying for refund, the hacker tampered with the parameter of the system's refund amount column, changing it to NT$200,000, all in order to deceive the system into carrying out the transaction. Fortunately, the back-end accounting system of THSRC identified the anomaly and promptly suspended the refund.
The Taoyuan City Field Division of the MJIB recently solved the case involving the hacking of email accounts. They arrested the supervisor with surname Huang of the information department in a military academy in Taoyuan. Huang had been accused of using his position to hack several academic email accounts of faculty members and sending false reports to the Complaints of the superior unit under their names from October 22 to 30, 2018. The act seriously affected the reputation and leadership prestige of the academy, so the institution pro-actively reported it to the Taoyuan City Field Division in order to safeguard the unity of the academy and the interests of the victims. The Information & Communication Security Section of the Taoyuan City Field Division investigated the case for several days and prepared sufficient digital evidence before applying to Prosecutor Yeh Yi-fa of the Taoyuan District Prosecutors Office for instruction and investigation. On December 14, 2018, after interviewing the suspect Huang and related witnesses, the prosecutor considered the evidence sufficient and ruled on a NT$150,000 bail.
The Pingtung County Field Office of the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB) recently received report that youngsters Tien ***-xian and others have been enjoying a lavish lifestyle with luxury automobiles through illegally acquired money. The case was reported to Prosecutor Liu Jun-yi of the Pingtung District Prosecutors Office, who then directed the investigation. It was found in the case that since October 2016, a total of seven suspects, including Tian ***-xian, Xu ***-lin, and Xu ***-hong, have been involved in fraud against numerous and random individuals by peddling to them a sham financial program called "A*** Group Financial Plan." The plan claimed that an investment of USD10, 000 per lot guaranteed immediate monthly return of 3 percent, which was convertible to TWD10, 000. However, on 25th December 2017 the payments abruptly ceased, by which time the total fraud income had amounted to over TWD30 million. During this period, the methods of fraud underwent changes as well. In August 2017, an online financial consulting agency called "Wu Hui Ren Sheng" was established on the social networking website Facebook, with Tian ***-xian acting as the leader and Xu ***-lin in charge of the finances. The group sought to recruit new members from the general public by masquerading themselves as futures consultants or investment experts. They claimed to manage funds in futures trading on behalf of the prospective members, and guaranteed returns as well as principals and interests to attract interest widely from the public; while margin trading in foreign exchange were conducted with USD1, 000 per lot, and investors paid operation fee of TWD6, 000 monthly. The current method is to recruit through the unauthorized operation of trading, futures-managing and consulting businesses. More than 100 individuals from around the country had joined, and the amount of illegal handling of funds has reached TWD117.63 million.