In a strange case currently unfolding in the South American nation of Paraguay, police investigators have detained 57 men and 23 women from Taiwan who they allege entered the country as tourists last year but are in fact employed by an illegal online gambling ring.
Police are presently searching for the head of the ring after a raid mounted on two houses in Ciudad del Este, on the border with Brazil found the Taiwanese nationals working in cramped accommodation surrounded by IT equipment and computer sets.
Alfredo Acosta, the prosecutor in charge of the investigation, told local media that the workers did not speak Spanish or English, but that investigators had established from their travel documents that they had passed through other countries before landing in Paraguay last November.
He said the authorities were seeking those responsible for bringing the illegal workers to Paraguay.
Describing the Taiwanese as exhausted and disoriented, Acosta said there was evidence that they worked in shifts around the clock and were perhaps given drugs to stay alert after long hours at the computers.
“We are assuming that they were working in online Chinese betting. Their work schedule was during the night and early morning, exactly business hours in China,” he said.