Mass deportation of Chinese from Fiji in fraud crackdown

Chinese nationals suspected of telecom fraud are escorted into a bus to an airport in Preah Sihanouk province, awaiting deportation to China, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 26, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 08 August 2017
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Mass deportation of Chinese from Fiji in fraud crackdown

SUVA, FIJI: Fiji has deported 77 Chinese nationals accused of running a phone and online scam targeting victims in mainland China, the latest in a series of overseas crackdowns orchestrated by Beijing.
The mass arrest and expulsion was part of a month-long operation involving both Fijian and Chinese law enforcement agencies, and echoes similar joint operations carried out in Indonesia and Cambodia last week.
Cyber criminals targeting victims in China have increasingly exploited technological advances to operate from abroad in a bid to evade authorities.
The Fiji-based ring is suspected of involvement in more than 50 telecom and online fraud cases, and cost victims in China more than six million yuan ($892,000), Fijian police said Tuesday, without giving precise details of the scams.
“These 77 Chinese nationals have been sent back to China from Fiji on August 4, 2017,” the Fiji police and Chinese embassy in Suva said in a joint statement.
The accused were flown to Changchun in northeast China’s Jilin Province.
China’s official Xinhua news agency said the scam came to light after one of the victims was swindled out of 1.3 million yuan and committed suicide, triggering a large-scale investigation.
The probe exposed an illegal online gambling and lottery gang involving more than 200 suspects based in China, Indonesia and Fiji who had illegally taken nearly 100 million yuan.
A team of Chinese police were sent to Fiji four weeks ago and on July 18 they arrested the 77 suspects and confiscated equipment, including mobile phones, computers and bank cards.
Another 83 people were arrested in China.
Beijing has become increasingly assertive in extraditing overseas fraud suspects.
Last week, Indonesia deported 143 people, including 22 Taiwanese, to China over fraud cases, days after police said they had busted a sprawling $450 million cyber fraud ring targeting wealthy businessmen and politicians in China.
The deportations drew a strong protest from Taiwan, which said the Taiwanese suspects should have been returned to the island.
Taiwan’s representative office in Suva said it had been assured by Fiji police that the 77 deported from the South Pacific nation were all nationals of the People’s Republic of China.
Also last week, Cambodia arrested more than 200 Chinese men and women suspected of running an online scam that persuaded victims to send nude photographs and then extorted them for cash, after a tip-off from Chinese authorities.


India charges ex-finance minister with corruption

Palaniappan Chidambaram. (REUTERS)
Updated 19 min 10 sec ago
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India charges ex-finance minister with corruption

  • The CBI accused the former minister of abusing power in allowing foreign investment
  • The charge came one day before an opposition no-confidence vote in parliament against the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi

NEW DELHI: Indian police on Thursday charged a top opposition leader P. Chidambaram with abuse of power in a multi-billion dollar scandal when he was finance minister.
Chidambaram confirmed the charge and said he would “vigorously” contest the case filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) anti-corruption watchdog.
The CBI accused the former minister of abusing power in allowing foreign investment by Malaysian group Maxis in telecom company Aircel in 2006.
Chidambaram, a senior leader of the opposition Congress party, said in a tweet, “CBI has been pressured to file a charge sheet to support a preposterous allegation against me and officers with a sterling reputation.”
“The case is now before the Hon’ble Court and it will be contested vigorously. I shall make no more public comment.”
The CBI has alleged that Chidambaram approved the half billion dollar Aircel-Maxis deal when it should have been referred to a cabinet committee.
The charge came one day before an opposition no-confidence vote in parliament against the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Chidambaram served twice as finance minister and also as home minister in the Congress-led coalition which was defeated by Modi’s nationalist party in 2014.
Congress officials have been hit by a string of corruption scandals dating from their time in government.