China urges Taiwan to give fraud suspects “punishment they deserve”
A Chinese mainland spokesman on Saturday urged Taiwan to give fraud suspects “the punishment they deserve,” stressing that the release of them will only make fraud more rampant and harm cross-Straits law enforcement cooperation.
Taiwan police earlier on Saturday released 20 fraud suspects who were deported from Malaysia Friday evening, citing a lack of evidence. They were among 52 people from Taiwan arrested in Malaysia for suspected telecommunication fraud.
“By releasing the suspects, Taiwan authorities disregarded many victims’ interests and harmed them a second time. It also harmed the two sides’ cooperation in jointly cracking down on crimes,” said An Fengshan, the spokesman with the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office.
Taiwan phone scammers come clean
Phone scams are nothing new, and yet the people behind this faceless crime continue to swindle billions of yuan from hapless victims every year.
Boiler rooms run by scammers from Taiwan were responsible for over 50 percent of all telecom fraud in China’s mainland. Nearly all major cases with reported losses in excess of 10 million yuan ($1.54 million) were organized by scammers from Taiwan, according to the Ministry of Public Security (MPS).
In the past seven days, 77 alleged fraud syndicate members, including 45 from Taiwan, were repatriated to China’s mainland from Africa.
In interviews with Xinhua, some of the suspects from Taiwan came clean about this illicit practice.
WHO, HOW ?
One suspect from Taoyuan in Taiwan, identified only by his surname Jian, traveled to Kenya to join a boiler room in 2014.
According to Jian, the organization he worked for divided its members into first-, second- and third-tier groups according to their roles. All worked off pre-written scripts when talking to their “clients.”
The first-tier group, a team of about a dozen people, masqueraded as managers of medical insurance accounts to acquire their victims’ personal information, Jian explained.
In the calls, the victims were told that they were victims of identity theft, and their “case” would be transferred to the police after they had confirmed certain information.
Then it was time for the second-tier group, the “police officers,” to take over the case. This team informed the victims that their identities had been used to facilitate money laundering, said Jian, who was one of the “police officers.”
The victims were then pressed for more information, such as family background, occupation, income and bank account details. The second-tier group would then try and wheedle out how much cash the victims had in their bank accounts.
“If there was not much money, we would talk the victims into transferring their balance to us,” said Jian, “however, if they were holding large deposits we would transfer the case to the third-tier group.”
Another suspect, who was identified by the surname Xu, was a member of this third-tier group. His bluff was that he was the director of the financial crime department.
“We told the victims that their money must be transferred to our ‘safe account’ for investigation, and instructed them how to do this at an ATM,” said Xu.
The fraudsters used software that changed the numbers they called from to those registered to mainland police stations.
“Any ‘savvy’ victim could check the number while we were on the phone,” he said, “and they would be reassured.”
The gang even played recordings of police stations or hospitals as background noise during the calls to further win the trust of their unsuspecting victims.
According to the police, members of the gang received a monthly salary based on their performance. The third-tier group, usually the most skilled fraudsters, earned the most, getting up to eight percent of the money earned in each deal.
Police said that the bosses and core members of many fraud rings were from Taiwan. In Jian and Xu’s case, only members of the first-tier groups were from the mainland, who were usually new to the world of telecom scams.
Investigators found that during recruitment, fraud rings often favored those with criminal records.
“I am familiar with how phone scams work, so that was why the boss asked me to join,” said Xu, who served a seven month sentence for fraud in Taiwan’s Taichung City in 2010.
Mainland urges Taiwan to give fraud suspects ‘punishment they deserve’
20 fraud suspects from Taiwan arrive in Taoyuan airport in Taiwan on Friday, April 15, 2016 after being deported from Malaysia. [Photo/IC]
The people of Taiwan have been aware of phone scams and for this reason, around 2002, fraud rings from Taiwan began to target mainlanders.
These fraud gangs are oldhands at writing convincing scripts and devising new methods to cheat victims out of their money and information, said Zhang Jun from the criminal investigation department of the MPS. Some, he added, even create mirror websites of mainland judicial agencies to further support their back stories.
Authorities on the mainland and Taiwan worked hard to improve cooperation and stamp out telecom fraud across the Strait. However, rather than packing up and “going straight,” many gangs just relocated to Southeast Asia, Africa and Oceania.
Since 2011, police from both sides have arrested more than 7,700 suspects implicated in telecom fraud gangs working in Southeast Asia, with about 4,600 of them from Taiwan.
“To hide from the police, many telecom fraud rings established themselves far from Chinese eyes, like Kenya in this case. But we are confident that we will find them, no matter where they are,” said Zhang. – Xinhua)
Chinese telecom fraud suspects repatriated from Kenya
The first 10 people were repatriated on Saturday and the remaining 67 on Wednesday, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) has confirmed. It is the first time that China has repatriated such a large group of telecom fraud suspects from Africa.
In recent years, syndicates led by suspects from Taiwan and based in Southeast Asia, Africa and Oceania have been falsely presenting themselves as law enforcement officers to extort money from people on the Chinese mainland through telephone calls, according to Chinese police.
In one case cited by the MPS in a statement, a person surnamed Yang from Duyun City of Guizhou Province was cheated by a syndicate, led by a Taiwan suspect, of 117 million yuan (18.1 million U.S. dollars) in December 2015.
Victims in other cases included migrant workers, teachers, students and elderly people from the Chinese mainland, and some of them committed suicide under the pressure of their economic losses, according to the statement.
The MPS said judicial organs on the Chinese mainland have legal rights of jurisdiction over the repatriated suspects.
Mainland police will investigate Taiwan suspects in strict accordance with the law and keep Taiwan authorities informed, the statement added.
The 77 suspects are from two telecom fraud syndicates. On Nov. 29, of 2014, Kenyan police arrested 48 people from the Chinese mainland and 28 from Taiwan over telecom scams. On April 8 of 2016, 19 suspects from the mainland and 22 from Taiwan were apprehended on similar charges.
In the past few years, police from the mainland and Taiwan have arrested more than 7,700 suspects, about 4,600 of them from Taiwan, in 47 joint operations to fight telecom frauds based in Southeast Asia.
However, in many of the cases handled by Taiwan judicial organs, Taiwan suspects were not brought to justice and victims on the mainland were unable to retrieve their lost money, An Fengshan, spokesperson for the State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office, told a news conference on Wednesday.
Quite a few Taiwan suspects were released as soon as they were returned to Taiwan and some resumed their wrongdoing soon after, An said.
“They have caused a tremendous loss to people on the Chinese mainland… triggering strong discontent,” according to the spokesperson.
An said the office’s director Zhang Zhijun informed Taiwan’s mainland affairs chief Andrew Hsia about the repatriation on Tuesday.
The legal rights and interests of the repatriated Taiwan suspects will be guaranteed in accordance with the law, he said.
“Judicial departments from Taiwan are welcome to visit the mainland to explore ways of strengthening cooperation between the two sides in cracking down on such international telecom fraud,” said the MPS. – Xinhua
Kenya right to extradite Taiwan suspects to mainland
Taiwan’s “Ministry of Foreign Affairs” criticized the Chinese mainland Monday after eight out 23 Taiwanese people were deported from Kenya to the Chinese mainland following their acquittal on telecommunications fraud charges. The news, hyped up by the Taiwanese media, soon became a focus of attention on the island. The Taiwan government has demanded the mainland immediately return the eight to Taiwan.
Taiwan’s public opinion sphere has launched strong protests and criticism against the mainland’s “illegal abduction.” However, Taiwan’s judiciary authority acknowledged Tuesday that although the eight Taiwanese were acquitted of unlicensed business activities related to telecommunications, they still face charges of fraud, and the mainland’s extradition conforms to international laws.
It is not news that some Taiwanese involve themselves in telecommunications fraud, with mostly mainland people as victims. Mainlanders’ losses reached NY$500 million ($15.4 million) reportedly.
The responses from the Taiwanese public opinion sphere, especially the pro-independence media, is politicized, which, to a large extent, has contributed to the local authorities’ attitude. The pro-independence camp always associates cross-Straits disputes with the mainland “suppressing” Taiwan, provoking “anti-mainland” sentiments on the island to the maximum.
It is indisputable, both in law and in the One China policy, that the Chinese mainland can extradite the eight Taiwanese involved in the fraud charges. The mainland’s handling of the case is supported by international laws.
As the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will take office soon, the radical forces on the island are increasingly active and arrogant. Targeting the mainland and the One China policy, they are responsible for the surging number of petty actions on the island.
The mainland needs to respond firmly to the radical pro-independence forces of Taiwan. The mainland has many more tools at its disposal now to punish these forces, compared with 16 years ago when Chen Shui-bian came to power. The mainland won’t intentionally seek trouble with the other side, even after the DPP assumes power.
But the new Taiwan administration must hold itself with dignity, exercising restraint and opposition to the extreme show of radical forces. The mainland will be able to see clearly if the new administration is appeasing them.
As the DPP moves closer to taking office, Taiwan is shrouded in an aggressive atmosphere.
Whether Taiwanese are allowed to use a “Republic of Taiwan” sticker on their passport is being debated in the legislative body. Now Taiwan is making a fuss about the mainland extraditing Taiwan suspects from abroad. Don’t expect the mainland to yield to these disgraceful acts.
Taiwanese society should pursue dignity from development and progress, not from “national sovereignty.” The latter is an illusion to Taiwan which the DPP is trying to sell.
Taiwan should approach this latest incident from a cross-Straits judiciary cooperation perspective and negotiate with the mainland. It is important that the Taiwan side does not politicize the matter. – Global Times
Experts defend mainland’s jurisdiction over Taiwanese fraud suspects
Kenya’s deportation of Taiwanese telecom fraud suspects to the Chinese mainland within the past week was lawful and reasonable, according to legal observers on the mainland.
There were 45 Taiwanese among 77 Chinese alleged fraud syndicate members who arrived in the mainland on Saturday and Wednesday. It is the first time that China has such a large group of telecom fraud suspects repatriated from Africa.
“As all victims are from the mainland, judicial organs on the mainland have legal rights of jurisdiction over the repatriated Taiwanese suspects, according to the principle of territorial jurisdiction required in international criminal litigation,” said Lin Wei, vice president of China Youth University of Political Studies.
The deportations have sparked debate in Taiwan about the mainland’s jurisdiction in the case. Mainland authorities said Taiwan has been too lenient in its handling telecom fraudsters in the past.
In many of the cases handled by Taiwan’s judicial organs, suspects were not brought to justice and victims on the mainland were unable to retrieve their lost money, according to the Ministry of Public Security.
Quite a few Taiwanese suspects were released as soon as they were returned to Taiwan and some resumed their wrongdoing soon after, said Liu Huawen, assistant director of the Institute of International Law under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
“They have caused a tremendous loss to people on the Chinese mainland,” said Liu.
“Telecom fraud has been regarded as quite a petty act of swindling in Taiwan, with short prison sentences and light financial penalties,” said Fan Chongyi, a professor at China University of Political Science and Law.
Taiwanese authorities should be tougher on such criminals, Fan said. – Xinhua