77 fraud sus­pects repa­tri­ated from Africa

China Daily (Canada) - - TOP NEWS - By PENG YINING and ZHANG YAN

Seventy-seven Chi­nese, in­clud­ing 45 Tai­wan res­i­dents, have been repa­tri­ated from Africa and are be­ing in­ves­ti­gated for sus­pected telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion fraud, the Tai­wan Af­fairs Of­fice of the State Coun­cil said onWed­nes­day.

An Feng­shan, the o f f i ce ’s spokesman, said at a reg­u­lar news­brief­ing that in re­cent years, wire fraud crim­i­nals from Tai­wan have ob­tained more than 10 bil­lion yuan ($1.5 bil­lion) yearly from the Chi­nese main­land. Only 200,000 yuan has been re­cov­ered, he said.

“The case is con­sid­ered China’s first large-scale repa­tri­a­tion from Africa of tele­com fraud sus­pects,” said a se­nior of­fi­cial of the Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity who re­quested anonymity.

On Wed­nes­day, po­lice in Kenya trans­ferred 67 of the sus­pects to Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties. They ar­rived on char­tered flights at air­ports in Bei­jing and Jiangsu, Hu­nan and Sichuan prov­inces.

The 10 other sus­pects, in­clud­ing eight from Tai­wan, were repa­tri­ated to the main­land on Satur­day to stand trial.

The case dates to Novem­ber 2014, when po­lice in­Kenya dis­cov­ered tools used­bythe crim­i­nals, in­clud­ing com­puter data in­ter­chang­ers, in a house in the cap­i­tal, Nairobi. Through fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the Kenyan po­lice un­cov­ered a cross-bor­der tele­com fraud ring. They de­tained 48 sus­pects from the Chi­nese main­land and 28 from Tai­wan.

Ac­cord­ing to the min­istry, the crim­i­nal gang es­tab­lished many fraud dens in Nairobi and re­cruited phone call­ers to pose as law en­force­ment of­fi­cers from the Chi­nese main­land to swin­dle Chi­nese res­i­dents in nine ar­eas, in­clud­ing Bei­jing, Jiangsu and Sichuan.

“The vic­tims, in­clud­ing el­derly peo­ple, mi­grant work­ers, laid-off work­ers and stu­dents, were cheated out of a large amount of money by the swindlers. Many fam­i­lies and en­ter­prises be­came bank­rupt, and some of the vic­tims have com­mit­ted sui­cide,” the of­fi­cial said.

“Our ju­di­cial de­part­ment will in­ves­ti­gate the Tai­wan sus­pects ac­cord­ing to law, and their le­gal in­ter­ests will be pro­tected,” said An, the of­fice spokesman.

Ac­cord­ing to the min­istry, po­lice of­fi­cers will up­date the Tai­wan side on de­vel­op­ments af­ter care­ful in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Ad­di­tion­ally, Tai­wan ju­di­cial au­thor­i­ties will be in­vited to the Chi­nese main­land for dis­cus­sions on com­bat­ing crossS­traits tele­com fraud.

Since an agree­ment signed on both sides of was the Straitsin2009­fora­join­t­ef­fortto fight crime and for mu­tual le­gal as­sis­tance, sev­ere­mea­sure­shave been taken to crack down on wire­fraud­in­volv­ingTai­wan­res­i­dents, the min­istry said.

The two sides have launched 47 joint lawen­force­ment oper­a­tions in South­east Asia and de­stroyed more than 500 dens, crack­ing about 10,000 wire fraud cases. More than 7,700 wire fraud sus­pects, of whom 4,600 are from Tai­wan, have been ar­rested, ac­cord­ing to the min­istry. When Tai­wan sus­pects were han­dled by the is­land, many were not pun­ished, and money ob­tained through fraud was not paid back to vic­tims on the main­land, it added.

ZhangZhi­jun, head­oftheTai­wan Af­fairs Of­fice, talked with An­drew Hsia, Tai­wan’s main­landaf­fairschief, vi­aa­hot­li­neon Tues­day af­ter­noon, dis­cussing the repa­tri­a­tion and in­ves­ti­ga­tion of theTai­wan sus­pects.

Zhang said telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion fraud al­legedly con­ducted by the Tai­wan sus­pects and in­volv­ing main­land res­i­dents oc­curred de­spite re­peated pro­hi­bi­tions. Crim­i­nals must be brought to jus­tice to pro­tect peo­ple’s in­ter­ests, he added.

Con­tact the writ­ers at peng yining@chi­nadaily.com.cn

An Feng­shan

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