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S. Korea sends 22 telecom fraud suspects to Taiwan, not China

Justice served: S. Korea repatriates 22 telecom fraud suspects to Taiwan, ignores China's pleas

Suspects being led by CIB agents. (CIB photo)

Suspects being led by CIB agents. (CIB photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Unlike certain countries which have kowtowed to Beijing on the matter, South Korea on Friday (July 5) showed moral fortitude and repatriated 22 Taiwanese telecom scam suspects to Taiwan, despite pleas from Communist China to do otherwise.

Late last year, Taiwan's Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) and Taichung Police began cooperating with South Korean police on uncovering a telecom fraud ring targeting Chinese citizens operating out of Jeju Island and masterminded by a suspect surnamed Pai (白), netting a total of 60 suspects including Pai. After adjudication by a South Korean court, 22 Taiwanese telecom fraud suspects were repatriated to Taiwan on Friday after serving their sentences or parole based on the circumstances of their cases.

When the arrests were initially reported, the Chinese government held a press conference demanding that "diplomatic allies" deal with Taiwan-related issues based on the nebulous "one China" principle. However, South Korea ignored Beijing's pleas, and deported the 22 suspects in accordance with the tacit understanding of mutual legal assistance between Taiwan and South Korea, reported UDN.

S. Korea sends 22 telecom fraud suspects to Taiwan, not China
South Korean police breaking open door during raid. (CIB photo)

On Saturday (July 6), all 22 suspects were transferred to the Taichung District Prosecutor's Office on charges of violating the Organized Crime Prevention Act (組織犯罪防制條例). After undergoing questioning, the suspects were released on bail ranging from NT$30,000 to NT$100,000, according to UDN.

After receiving a tip last year, the Second Team of the CIB's Electronic Investigation Brigade provided information to South Korean police about a fraud ring headed by a 40-year-old man surnamed Pai. On Dec. 20 of last year, police raided the fifth floor of an apartment on South Korea's Jeju Island, where they seized 104 mobile phones on the spot, reported CNA.

During the raid, South Korean police arrested 60 suspects, including 51 Taiwanese, seven Chinese, and two South Koreans. After a trial was held in South Korea, 51 Taiwanese were sentenced to three to six years in prison by the court, according to the report.

S. Korea sends 22 telecom fraud suspects to Taiwan, not China
Evidence seized during raid. (CIB photo)

When the South Korean court announced the ruling, the Chinese government expressed its hope that "diplomatic allies" would deal with Taiwan-related issues under the tattered "one China" principle. Instead, South Korea sent 22 of the 51 Taiwanese suspects to Taiwan.

This marked the first case of judicial exchange between Taiwanese and South Korean police, according to the CIB. The CIB said that in the future, judicial cooperation and exchanges between Taiwan and South Korea will continue to combat transnational crimes.

S. Korea sends 22 telecom fraud suspects to Taiwan, not China
Telecom suspects boarding a bus. (CIB photo)