Spain could be the first country from the European Union to extradite criminal suspects from Taiwan to China instead of their homeland. A joint Chinese-Spanish operation smashed what security officials called an intensive international telephone scamming syndicate in December.
The operation led to an arrest of 269 suspects, and most of them were Taiwanese nationals. However, Beijing requested that the whole group be sent to China. The Spanish government approved this request last month.
According to Taiwan’s protest, this decision is a violation of the principle of nationality and historical European human rights standards. China views Taiwan as a breakaway province that will reunite with the mainland in the long run. The truth of the matter is that Taiwan has little it can do to block the transfer. There are several countries apart from Spain that don’t recognize Taiwan as an independent State.
According to analysts, the stance of China on this issue is a clear indication of the tough line it took towards Taiwan since Tsai Ing-wen won the presidential elections last year. The party of President Tsai Ing-wen supports formal independence. The mainland has also raised several complaints against Taiwan. One of them is that Taiwan has been adamant by failing to rein in thousands of its nationals who steal from Chinese people through telephone scams from abroad.
How Did the Scam in Spain Work?
The Taiwan Scammers made thousands of phone calls to China telephone numbers from the luxury villas in the cities of Alicante, Barcelona and Madrid. They were fueled by energy drinks behind the curtained windows. The members of this crime syndicate worked throughout the night with the intention of deceiving victims from China.
The Spanish police report that the Scam had three operational stages. The fraudster would begin by calling a potential victim and present themselves as a friend or neighbor. They would go ahead to offer a seemingly well-meaning of the existence of scams within the region.
A second operator would then pose as a security officer and inform the individual that they were a potential target for the fraudsters. In some cases, they would inform the person that he or she had already been defrauded.
In the final ruse, the scammer would pose as judicial investigator or police. He would ask the victim to transfer a particular amount of cash to a special bank account to allow for the tracking of the fraudsters. The fraudsters managed to steal over 17 million U.S dollars from victims in China using this method. According to china media, 7 people have already committed suicide as a result of this scam.
Why China Wants These Suspects
According to China, the victims came from the mainland Chinese and the jurisdiction should take place there. According to China, it is not about sovereignty and Spain’s decision is within the international law. China also states that Taiwan gives lenient treatment to the scammers when they are sent back home. Spain will send these criminals to China because it signed it signed and extradition treaty with China in 2005 and does not recognize Taiwan. A Statement from the Spain’s justice ministry to the BBC claimed that all those suspects had Chinese nationality.