RIO DE JANEIRO — Rio police have cracked a gang specialized in robbing the houses of Chinese immigrants in the states of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais.

The gang was not originally from the city of Rio de Janeiro. Its members were based in Sao Paulo and traveled to Rio with a specific list of possible targets, police chief Izabela Santoni said over the weekend.

The police believed somebody inside the Chinese community had tipped off the criminals.

The gang had several cells which acted independently, and with the arrests made over the weekend, two cells were dismantled, according to the police.

Each cell had usually five members. Four of them were middle-class young men aged 18-21 with no criminal records, and a fifth was more experienced member, the police said.

Sao Paulo has the largest Chinese community in Brazil, but the number of Chinese immigrants living in Rio has grown in recent years.

The police are still investigating the case in hopes to find the gang leader, who was reportedly responsible for choosing the victims among well-off Chinese immigrants.