Taiwan, Thailand join hands to fight crime

TAIPEI (AFP) - Taiwan and Thailand signed a crime-fighting agreement on Thursday aimed at curbing a growing number of cross-border scams and other crimes, Taipei officials said.

"This is a milestone in police cooperation. We can achieve better results in intelligence exchange, investigation, coordinated operations, and extradition," said Taiwan's police chief Wang Cho-chiun.

Since 2009, a total of 417 people have been arrested for their alleged involvement in cross-border fraud as a result of joint investigations by Taiwanese and Thai police, according to Mr Wang.

Taiwan has also teamed up with other Southeast Asian police forces to bust fraud, with a record 827 people arrested in 2011 for allegedly running operations in seven countries in the region.

Taiwanese fraud rings have relocated to Southeast Asia in recent years after the island's police joined forces with Chinese authorities to wipe out their operations.

Taiwanese police have said that the crime-fighting agreement it inked with China in 2009 helped lower the island's fraud cases by 26 per cent in the following year.