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Prison Sentence for Taiwanese Human Trafficker Who Sold Victims to Casinos

Southeast Asia still has a serious problem with human trafficking, but there are active efforts to eradicate it. The efforts are bearing fruit; a man from Taiwan is currently serving a prison sentence after selling unwilling victims to Cambodian casinos and other businesses.

According to the news source Bangkok Post, Lee Chen-hao allegedly oversaw an international criminal organization that subjected people to forced labor around the region. Unknowingly accepting well-paying positions abroad, the victims later discovered that everything was a fraud.

The criminals had no trouble locating fresh victims since they posted job openings on social media. They had conned dozens of people into taking customer service jobs that didn't exist since November 2021. According to numerous media accounts, there were a lot of victims and thousands more are still unaccounted for.

The victims were abruptly startled into the terrifying reality that would become their new existence as soon as they arrived in Cambodian cities like Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville. The companies took their passports and locked them away; some of these enterprises were illegal online casinos, while others were online fraud operations.

The workers put in lengthy hours without taking breaks. On the job, they were required to reach absurd targets, and those who didn't got beat up to set an example for the others.

They were unable to communicate with anyone by phone or email without someone secretly watching them to make sure they didn't try to devise an escape strategy. However, other incidents revealed that the strict regulations weren't always effective, and there have been instances of widespread escapes. Some of these have had disastrous results.

By the time the authorities intervened and detained Lee, he and his gang were accused of trafficking at least 88 individuals from Taiwan to Cambodia. According to media sources, gangs in Cambodia valued each individual at about $17,000.

Authorities were able to rescue 22 people last year in a massive combined operation, and they later assisted another 30 in gaining freedom. The other's whereabouts are still a mystery. Lee and his group occasionally ended their trails by selling underperforming employees to other gangs.

Prosecutors continued to develop their case throughout the subsequent investigation by introducing fresh evidence from the victims and witnesses. In the end, Taiwan filed charges against Lee and his eight conspirators for people trafficking, money laundering, and other offenses.

In court, Lee constantly proclaimed his innocence, as did three unnamed gang members. The other five admitted their involvement in some of the allegations, but they denied taking part in the sale or transfer of people.

Depending on their role, the other defendants received terms ranging from 11 to 16 years in prison, while Lee will serve 18 years.

While the arrests and punishments will remove these offenders from the streets, it's likely that their absence will only lead to a temporary gap that can be replaced. One of the biggest triads in Taiwan, the Bamboo Union, is allegedly made up of Lee and his associates, according to Taiwan.

It is estimated that the gang has at least 20K members, predominantly Chinese. They have no difficulty killing anyone who stands in their way because they rely on prostitution, drug and human trafficking, and extortion for their means of subsistence.

The Bamboo Union is certain that it is a part of a political organization that supports change in Taiwan and is neither a triad or a gang of thieves. Chang An-lo, one of its top leaders, founded the Chinese Unity Promotion Party in Taiwan.

The Associated Press claims that Chang gained support from China and came to prominence in the fight against drugs and people trafficking. He even maintained a residence in Las Vegas at one point to supervise the organization's unlawful activities in Sin City and California.

Even though that was nearly 60 years ago, the group is still going strong. As a result, it is aware of how to recuperate and continue running.


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