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Key Suspect in Money Laundering Case Repatriated Back to Taiwan

A key suspect in a high-profile money laundering case was escorted by law enforcement officers back to Taiwan from Thailand on Thursday.

Kuo Che-min (郭哲敏), who was arrested in Thailand on July 27, was transferred into the custody of the New Taipei District Prosecutors Office shortly after being repatriated back on a China Airlines plane at 3:30 p.m.

Speaking to local press, Criminal Investigation Bureau Deputy Commissioner Chen Ming-chun (陳明君) said authorities suspected Kuo’s organization of fraud, money laundering and restriction of personal liberties.

Police took a total of 23 individuals into custody and seized cash and real estate properties in several raids conducted last year, Chen said.

Kuo absconded to Singapore last October and then began travelling between various Southeast Asian countries, holding both a Taiwanese and a Cambodian passport, Chen said.

Taiwanese investigators were alerted of Kuo’s whereabouts after Malaysian authorities flagged his Cambodian passport when he used it to travel between Malaysia and Thailand.

With the assistance of Thai law-enforcement agents, Kuo was taken into custody on July 27.

High-profile case

Kuo’s organization is accused of handling underground transactions to launder foreign currencies which totaled approximately NT$2.7 billion (US$85 million).

He and his alleged accomplices could have profited at least NT$100 million in currency exchange differences from the operation.

Kuo’s online gambling venture that was established in 2018 was suspected to be the front of his operation.

He is also suspected to have partnered with Lin Pin-wen (林秉文), a Taiwanese individual involved in organized crime, to conduct the illicit businesses.

Another reason why Kuo’s case was considered high profile by local press was his involvement with the “88 Lounge,” a private club run by Kuo.

The establishment, which has since shut down, was believed to have been an entertainment location used to host corrupt officials.

In February this year, the New Taipei District Prosecutors Office officially brought charges against Kuo, Lin and a number of their alleged accomplices for violating the Banking Act and Money Laundering Control Act.

Among those arrested was Kuo’s purported accountant Chen Pin-yen (陳品言), who was taken into custody upon her return to Taiwan from Cambodia on Aug. 8 and currently held incommunicado.

Moreover, Kuo is the father of two of Taiwan TV personality Claire Chien’s (錢帥君) children, which further put the case under the spotlight.

Source: Focus Taiwan