Taiwanese on Working Holidays Abused By Scammers in Australia

Taiwanese on Working Holidays Abused By Scammers in Australia
Photo Credit: AP/達志影像
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Translated and compiled by Yuan-ling Liang

Last August, a group of 50 Taiwanese workers employed for working holidays in Australia was found by the police in two “slave houses” for committing fraud. After more than nine months of investigation, the police collected enough evidence to outline the operation and gradually rescued all of the victims in the residences.

These 50 Taiwanese people applied for “holiday working” in Brisbane. They were picked up from the Brisbane airport and taken to two houses that later isolated them.

Dai You-ting, who escaped from the house, told the police he was made to stand five hours for asking to leave when he was still in the house. According to other victims, they were never paid for phone-swindling Chinese overseas 12 hours a day. The operators controlled all of their behaviors and took away their passports, IDs and wallets, and they were scheduled to take showers together every day for fear they would leave the house. After Dai’s escape, the rest of the victims even faced further threats made towards their family members if they escaped or revealed details to the police.

Brisbane Times reports, Taiwanese operators Yu-Hao Huang and Bo-Syun Chen are currently under prosecution. Wu-nan “William" Chen and Sheng-Jiun “Katsu" Huang, accused of helping conduct the crime, were both denied bail recently due to evidence showing them involved in the case. However, evidence regarding servitude is still lacking.

Sheng-Jiun “Katsu" Huang, whose original work was a chef, earned AU$300,000 (approximately US$233,061) through supporting the scam.

Concerns rise on the popular working holidays

The News Lens reports, according to statistics from the Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, until 2013, about 128,000 of Taiwanese had taken working holidays overseas. More than 80% of these Taiwanese holiday workers go to Australia due to the low threshold for application and high pay.

However, this phenomenon also serves as a labor source for overseas scams.

Liberty Times reports, 21 Taiwanese people on working holidays in Malaysia were arrested for committing fraud last May. The head of the case told the applicants that they can help them arrange holiday working for free, and made these workers swindle Chinese through phone calls after they arrived in Malaysia.

TVBS reports, some of the students in this case weren’t able to find a job after graduation, with some of them saying the salary was too low in Taiwan. Since holiday working provides high pay and a chance to travel abroad, many students apply without further research into the working environment.

Edited by Olivia Yang

Sources:
“‘Slave houses’ hiding in inner-city Brisbane" (Brisbane Times)
Apple Daily
UDN
“Police find 27 young Taiwanese ‘slaves’ during a dramatic home raid in Brisbane linked to a possible boiler room scam" (Daily Mail)
The News Lens
Liberty Times Net
TVBS