Taiwan and China are investigating together a telecom fraud carried out by 77 people who were deported from Kenya. Suspects would be tried on the Chinese mainland, including a group of 45 Taiwanese, said a Chinese Ministry of Public Security (MPS) on Thursday, according to the official press agency Xinhua.

The deportation of the Taiwanese from Kenya to China has generated conflict in Taiwan, which said it should have jurisdiction over its own citizens as reported by Focus Taiwan.

The group detained in Kenya had operated out of the capital Nairobi and were suspected of cheating victims out of millions of yuan. Credit: South China Morning Post

On the other hand, Chen Shiqu, deputy inspector at the public bureau of the MPS, remarked that the accused will be investigated, prosecuted and tried according to mainland law.

“The suspects specifically targeted people on the Chinese mainland and their victims are from the mainland. Not to mention that many of the suspects are themselves from the mainland.” He said on Thursday, according to state agency Xinhua.

He also stressed that all of the 45 Taiwanese that were deported have “admitted their guilt” in the telecom fraud in Kenya and Malaysia. However, things appeared to change on Friday, after Taiwanese officials from the Ministry of Justice traveled to Beijing, to discuss the deportation.

Chen Wen-chi, director-general of the Department of International, said to Focus Taiwan that both countries will first collaborate together, to  obtain more details about the crimes and collect evidence, before further steps are announced.

In other words, the decision of which country will prosecute the suspects will wait “for later negotiations”, she added. As part of the investigation, Taiwan and China covenanted to send officials to both territories in order to collect evidence of the people involved in the case.

Mr. Chen Shiqu said that Chinese Police will work hard to face telecom fraud syndicates. They expect that Taiwan authorities will do the same and “offer support to the mainland in returning illicit gains”.

Telecom fraud has stolen millions of yuans from China

According to Xinhua, syndicates composed by Taiwanese who are based in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Oceania, tend to introduce themselves as law enforcement officers, and proceed to extract money from people living in Mainland China, using telephone calls.

In 2015, a Chinese from Guizhou Province “was cheated of 117 million yuan ($18.2 million). Workers, teachers, students, elderly adults have been part of the telecom fraud. In some cases, people have committed suicide due to their economic losses, said Xinhua

The 77 deported suspects are from two syndicates. Wang Jiaxin, head of the detention center where the accused are being held, said that all of them have been put in separate cells but “their rights have been fully protected”.

In total, the Ministry of Public Security calculates that fraud syndicates are responsible for losses of 10 billion yuan ($1.54 billion), among mainland victims. However “only 207,000 yuan” have been recovered from Taiwan, said Xinhua.

Source: Xinhua News