Taiwan says fraud cases halved since it teamed up with China

TAIPEI (AFP) - Taiwan's fraud cases have fallen more than 50 per cent in the four years since the island teamed up with China to fight growing Internet and telephone scams, the government said Friday.

A total of 17,744 cases were reported in 2013 involving Tw$3.77 billion (S$160 million) in losses. That was down 54.3 per cent from the 38,802 cases involving Tw$10.27 billion in 2009, according to data released by Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council.

China was a favourite destination for Taiwanese criminals hoping to evade arrest until Taipei and Beijing signed a crime-fighting agreement in 2009 amid improving ties.

Nearly 6,000 suspects have been arrested since.

Under the agreement, the two sides have been collaborating in information-sharing, coordinating raids and extraditing criminals to crack down on crimes including fraud, drug smuggling and currency counterfeit.

In one of the largest busts, more than 800 people were arrested in 2011 across Taiwan, China and Southeast Asia in coordinated raids, according to Taiwanese police.

Last year, a gang leader and one of Taiwan's most wanted criminals was extradited to the island from China, where he fled 17 years ago.

Taiwan and China split in 1949 after a civil war, but Beijing still sees the island as part of its territory awaiting reunification - by force if necessary.

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