Swindled cash returned to Taiwan victims: top court

Updated: 2013-06-14 07:19


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BEIJING - Seventeen victims of a cross-Strait telecommunications fraud who were swindled out of cash have got their money back, the first such return under a judicial assistance agreement signed between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan.

More than 2.37 million yuan ($384,700) has been returned to victims, according to a Supreme People's Court statement on Thursday.

A total of 17 suspects, 13 from Taiwan, were sentenced to jail terms ranging from one year to life imprisonment. They were also ordered by a local court to return the illicit money to the victims.

From November 2008 to May 2010, the fraud ring, with the leading members from Taiwan, dialed the telephone numbers of Taiwan people from the city of Hangzhou in eastern Zhejiang province.

They acted as staff from Taiwan departments of household registration, police and local courts.

The criminals claimed to the people over the telephone that they had been victims of money-laundering or fraud and asked them to submit their bank details to prosecutors due to safety concerns and for further review. As a result, the criminal gang swindled 23.72 million yuan.

The victims were elderly people aged between 62 and 87 and the ordeal had been distressing for them, said the court in Zhejiang that handled the case.

Authorities of the mainland and Taiwan jointly investigated the case, the statement said.

More than 25,000 cases were handled under the cross-Strait judicial assistance agreement between June 2009, when it was signed, and March 2013.