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Indonesia returns over 140 suspects in big telecom fraud

By Zhang Yunbi | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-04 09:08

Indonesia returned 143 Chinese suspected of telecom fraud to the Chinese police in Jakarta on Thursday in what was considered major progress in shared efforts to crack down on overseas scams.

The suspects, including 22 from China's Taiwan, were handed over and departed from Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on two flights, The Associated Press quoted Indonesia's immigration office spokesman Agung Sampurno as saying.

The suspects, most of whom are men, were detained in a weekend raid of houses in Jakarta, Surabaya and Bali after a tip from Chinese officials, local police said. The operation made around 6 trillion rupiahs ($450 million) since it started at the end of 2016, AFP reported.

It extorted money from people in China embroiled in legal cases, Xinhua reported.

China has boosted efforts to bring telecom fraud suspects home partly because such syndicates, operating from abroad but not targeting the host country, have caused huge financial losses and even suicides by victims.

China and Indonesia signed a treaty on extradition and it was approved by China's top legislature in 2010.

Chinese police brought back Chinese telecom fraud suspects from Indonesia for the first time in 2011, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

In July 2013, they brought back 54 extradited suspects from Indonesia in a telecom scam case involving more than 40 million yuan ($6 million).

Chinese police solved a total of 83,000 cases of telecom and internet fraud last year, a year-on-year increase of 49.6 percent, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

Police traveled to many countries, including Kenya, Laos, Malaysia, Cambodia and Spain, to return 561 telecom fraud suspects last year. Last month, Cambodia returned 74 Chinese suspects.

Telecom scams often involve such lures as fake job offers and promises of backdoor approvals of college enrollment or scholarships, the Ministry of Public Security warned students and their parents ahead of summer vacations.


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