A total of 35 Taiwanese nationals have been prevented from entering Australia, after Australian Border Force (ABF) officers at Brisbane Airport identified their intended involvement in ‘boiler room’ scams.
Four individuals arrived at Brisbane Airport on a flight from Taipei on 11 May and were subject to examination by ABF officers.
During the examination, a further five individuals from the same flight were identified and evidence was located indicating the group had travelled to Australia to participate in the illegal activity.
All nine passengers had their visas cancelled and were detained pending their removal from Australia.
On 12 May, another six individuals arrived on a flight from Taipei and were also detained.
Subsequent investigations identified another 20 individuals offshore who were intending to travel to Australia to participate in the activity. Border alerts have been placed on these individuals to prevent them travelling to Australia.
‘Boiler room’ scams often involve foreign nationals, brought to Australia on student or tourist visas, who are forced to live and work in substandard conditions and carry out phone scams. These scams generally involve callers attempting to fleece large amounts of money from unsuspecting victims.
ABF Regional Commander Queensland, Terry Price, said the ABF was well placed to identify and target these kinds of travellers.
“Thanks to the talented officers at Brisbane Airport, we have uncovered a highly organised criminal enterprise and preventing these travellers from coming to Australia will have a significant impact on their operations,” Commander Price said.
“The criminals behind this activity not only harm the victims of the phone scams, but are also taking advantage of foreign nationals, who are often brought to Australia on false promises.”
“These workers are usually underpaid, forced to live and work in poor conditions and may be subject to other exploitation like having their passports withheld and being forced to repay a false debt.
Further investigation into the organisers of the boiler room scam are continuing.
Anyone with information about possible visa fraud is encouraged to report it to ABF’s BorderWatch program by visiting www.Australia.gov.au/borderwatch. Information can be given anonymously.