Spain sends 94 Taiwanese scam suspects to China

Group of more than 200 arrested in 2016

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Spain detained more than 200 telecom fraud suspects (image from Spanish National Police YouTube channel)

Spain detained more than 200 telecom fraud suspects (image from Spanish National Police YouTube channel) (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A flight carrying 94 Taiwanese accused of telecom fraud arrived in Beijing Friday (June 7) from the Spanish capital Madrid, according to reports in the Chinese media.

In December 2016, Spanish police arrested a total of 237 suspects, with so far 218 Taiwanese citizens having been deported to China instead of to Taiwan, the Central News Agency reported.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs usually protests against such incidents, as Taiwanese nationals should be tried in their home country, but in several instances, other countries have put the suspects on a flight to China. Beijing claims they need to stand trial in China because most of the victims reside in the communist country.

In this case, Spain’s National Police and China’s Public Security Bureau formed a joint taskforce as far back as July 2016 in order to combat the plague of telecom extortion. The group uncovered 800 cases which netted the criminals an estimated NT$540 million (US$17 million), according to the CNA report.

Only about 10 suspects were still awaiting extradition to China, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.

Concern about the fate of the detainees has not only originated from Taiwan, but also from the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights.