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29 Taiwanese nationals sentenced in China for telecoms fraud

(Photo courtesy of China News Service)

(Photo courtesy of China News Service)

A total of 29 Taiwanese nationals have been sentenced to jail terms ranging from four-and-a-half years to 14 years in China for telecoms fraud committed in Spain in 2016, a Chinese daily newspaper reported Thursday (Dec. 31).

Citing a post by the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court on its Weibo account, The Beijing News reported that the court earlier in the day handed down jail sentences ranging from four-and-a-half years to 14 years, as well as fines to 29 Taiwanese defendants, including one identified as Kuo Cheng-huang (郭政瑝), for crimes committed in Spain from June-December 2016.

The Beijing court found that the defendants were members of a telecoms fraud ring and guilty of swindling 6.17 million Chinese yuan (US$943,709) from 14 Chinese nationals residing in China and Hong Kong while operating from Spain.

The defendants pretended to be judicial officials, calling victims and informing them about a leak of personal information or accusing them of committing a crime, and requesting that they cooperate with officials to track the flow of funds.

In June 2019, 94 Taiwanese were extradited to Beijing from Spain at the request of China, as part of a joint crackdown on telecoms fraud launched three years ago.

The suspects were apprehended in December 2016 in joint raids across Spain involving law enforcement officers from both countries.

The 29 defendants are believed to be part of that criminal group.

Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council spokesman Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) on Thursday urged China to ensure that the judicial rights of the Taiwanese defendants are protected and family members are allowed to visit them.