Fifteen Taiwanese suspects were repatriated to Taiwan to face criminal charges yesterday after a joint operation by Taiwanese and Thai authorities targeting an alleged fraud ring, law enforcement authorities said yesterday.
The Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau said the bureau and Thai judicial authorities had cooperated in the crackdown, resulting in the arrest of 32 international racketeering suspects. Among them were 26 Taiwanese, five Chinese and one Burmese.
The bureau said the Taiwanese suspects headed the group in Thailand and allegedly targeted their victims with telephone calls convincing them to wire money into certain accounts. Victims were believed to be Chinese and Thai.
The bureau said its agents yesterday brought 15 suspects back to Taiwan, with the other 11 to be repatriated soon.
The bureau said that recent crackdowns on fraud rings in Taiwan had forced Taiwanese fraudsters to move their operations to Southeast Asia, where they cooperated with fraud local rings.
As Taiwanese fraud rings have seriously undermined Taiwan’s image abroad, judicial authorities have to work with foreign countries to combat those crimes, the bureau said.
Fourteen Taiwanese suspects were arrested in the Philippines in December and Taipei demanded they be handed over to Taiwanese authorities. However, the Philippines sent them to China in -February, sparking a diplomatic row that soured ties between Taipei and Manila.
Through negotiations between Taiwanese law enforcement authorities and their Chinese counterparts, China finally agreed to repatriate the 14 individuals, who are suspected of having defrauded mostly Chinese nationals through telephone scams.
The 14 Taiwanese suspects were returned to Taiwan last week.
Taiwan’s prosecutors have vowed to seek heavy charges for swindlers.