45 Taiwanese fraud suspects to be tried in China: state media

Masked alleged fraud suspects are escorted by policemen as they arrive at Taoyuan Airport in Taoyuan on April 15, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (AFP) - Dozens of Taiwanese deported from Kenya over allegations of fraud have admitted their guilt and will stand trial in China, state media reported on Friday.

Kenyan police expelled 45 Taiwanese citizens to China this month over charges they were part of a vast telephone fraud network, according to China's Xinhua state news agency.

Taiwan reacted furiously, accusing China of "abducting" its citizens, and dispatched a delegation of government officials to Beijing for talks with police.

Chinese state media last week showed the deportees apparently admitting to crimes under police interrogation, in what has become a common sight in such cases.

Chen Shiqu, an investigator with China's ministry of public security, said all 45 suspects have already "admitted their guilt".

"The suspects specifically targeted people on the Chinese mainland and their victims are from the mainland," Xinhua quoted him as saying.

"Many of the suspects are themselves from the mainland. They will thus be investigated, prosecuted and tried in accordance with mainland law," he said.

Last week, China's minister of public security said the mainland had legal jurisdiction over the case.

China considers Taiwan to be one of its provinces awaiting reunification, by force if necessary, even though the island has ruled itself since 1949 following a civil war split.

Observers say China is stepping up pressure on Taiwan's president-elect Tsai Ing-wen, who is set to take office in May, as Beijing does not trust her historically pro-independence party.

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