|Suspects involved in major transnational telecom fraud are escorted to get off the plane after arriving in Beijing, capital of China, May 24, 2012. Fifty-three Chinese who are suspected to be part of a group involved in major transnational telecom fraud were escorted from Thailand to Beijing Thursday. Another group of 73 suspects were escorted by mainland police from Malaysia to Beijing, the Ministry of Public Security said. Police from the mainland and Taiwan busted the group on Wednesday with the help of law enforcement agencies in six countries, including Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Fiji, the ministry said.(Xinhua/Li Xin)
BEIJING, May 24 (Xinhua) -- A total of 482 people suspected of being involved in a major transnational telecom scam were seized by law enforcement officials from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan on Wednesday with the help of police in six countries.
Of the suspects, 177 were from the Chinese mainland and 286 were from Taiwan, the Ministry of Public Security said Thursday. The other 19 suspects are from Thailand and Myanmar.
They are suspected of having stolen more than 73 million yuan (11.5 million U.S. dollars) in 510 cases of telecom fraud, all of which occurred in the Chinese mainland, the ministry said.
These suspects spread throughout the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, as well as six other countries -- Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Fiji -- and established money-laundering dens in Taiwan and Thailand, it said.
One-hundred-twenty-six suspects from the Chinese mainland were escorted from Thailand and Malaysia to Beijing on Thursday, and they will be interrogated further, according to the ministry.
Moreover, 262 of the total 286 Taiwanese suspects have been escorted back to Taiwan.
The ministry launched the investigation in November 2011, and invited police from Taiwan to work out effective solutions. Early this May, the ministry sent six groups composed of 70 Chinese police officers to the six countries to further investigate.
The group was busted on Wednesday with the help of law enforcement agencies in those six countries, the ministry said.
"The group mainly squeezed money from individuals or companies by calling them in the name of police or procuratorate staff and threatening to accuse them of money-laundering crimes," said Liu Ancheng, deputy director of the ministry's Criminal Investigation Bureau.
They asked the victims to transfer money into the group's accounts and then told their accomplices in Taiwan and Thailand to withdraw the money from local ATMs, said Liu.
Liu noted that the Taiwanese suspects comprised the majority of the group, distinguishing this from most cases that occur in the mainland.
"Ringleaders from Taiwan were deterred by mainland police's stern crackdown on telecom scams, so they recruited locals in Taiwan to commit this crime," Liu said.
The ministry said it regards the coordinated crackdown on the telecom scam as a new paradigm of transnational police cooperation, adding that China's law enforcement departments are always confident in, and capable of, safeguarding the security of people's property.