Beijing, Jan 31 (EFE).- Myanmar’s junta handed over 10 suspected cyber scam suspects to China as part of bilateral security cooperation aimed at combating transnational telecom and internet fraud crimes between the two neighboring countries, state media reported Wednesday.
Six “key leaders” of telecom fraud gangs and four other major criminal suspects were transferred to China on a charter flight late on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency reported.
“It demonstrates the firm determination and strong will of the two countries to jointly combat transnational telecom fraud crimes and work together to maintain security and stability,” China’s Ministry of Public Security said.
According to the ministry, criminal groups in the Kokang region in northern Myanmar have openly organized armed fraud gangs and committed telecom fraud crimes against Chinese citizens, often resorting to violent criminal methods.
The extradition took place after several rounds of talks and consultations between Chinese and Myanmar delegations over the past two months.
Myanmar has so far transferred at least 44,000 telecom scam suspects to China, including 2,908 fugitives, according to the ministry.
In 2023, Chinese public security departments arrested over 79,000 telecom and online scam suspects and solved 391,000 cases of cybercrimes in the country.
Organized crimes, particularly cyber fraud, have significantly increased in northern Myanmar near the border with China following the military coup in February 2021 that opened a new chapter of violence and political instability in the country.
According to a recent United Nations report, at least 120,000 people across Myanmar and another 100,000 in Cambodia are forced to participate in “lucrative online scams,” including illegal gambling and crypto fraud.
Hundreds of thousands of people from Southeast Asia are deceived or directly kidnapped by crime gangs to work in scam centers and run cyber scams, a business that, according to the Global Anti-Scam Alliance, generated $1 trillion between August 2022 and August 2023.
Following the recent escalation of conflict between rebels and the Myanmar army, hundreds of such workers were able to flee these centers and return to their respective countries.
As part of anti-cybercrime efforts, China has also sent teams to countries such as Thailand, the Philippines, and Cambodia to participate in international law enforcement missions.
The Chinese government has recently drafted “joint punishment measures for telecom and internet fraud and related crimes” to better implement anti-telecom and online fraud laws. EFE