Taipei: Taiwanese police said on Thursday they have arrested 800 suspected phone scammers in raids coordinated with police in China and seven Southeast Asian countries.
Taiwan`s Crime Investigation Bureau said the suspects, including some 300 Taiwanese and 500 Chinese, were arrested on Wednesday at 166 locations across Asia.
In a statement on its website, the bureau said those arrested were suspected of swindling more than 200 million yuan (USD 31 million) from mostly Chinese and Taiwanese victims.
In a typical scam, they placed phone calls in the guise of law-enforcement officials and fooled the victims into transferring funds to clear themselves of false drug abuse or other offenses. Others lured victims into buying goods online that were never delivered.
Many of the suspects had fled to Southeast Asia to escape sweeping crackdowns at home. The joint operations involved more than 2,500 policemen across the region who arrested and deported the suspects to their own countries, Taiwanese police said.
In a similar operation in June, nearly 600 suspected scam artists were arrested.
The operations followed a 2009 agreement by Taiwan and China to tackle increasing cross-border crime. The two sides split amid civil war in 1949 but have improved their relations markedly in recent years.