Myanmar hands China more than 31,000 telecom fraud suspects

BEIJING — Myanmar authorities have handed over 31,000 telecom fraud suspects to China since law enforcement officers from both countries launched a crackdown on online scams in September, Chinese authorities said Tuesday.

The suspects included 63 “financiers” and ringleaders of crime syndicates that have cheated Chinese citizens of large sums of money, the Ministry of Public Security said in a statement.

“The crackdown has achieved significant battle results,” the ministry said.

More than 100,000 people engage in telecom fraud each day in at least 1,000 scam centers in Myanmar, which shares a border with southwest China, Chinese state media has reported.

Chinese police started to crack down on the fraud in September and this month, police launched what they said were “swift attacks” on crime gangs in Myanmar.

The Myanmar ringleader of a gang died by suicide last week while on the run from Myanmar authorities, Chinese police said. Three members of his gang were later handed over to Chinese police.

With a surge in telecom scams in Myanmar targeting Chinese citizens, Assistant Foreign Minister Nong Rong visited Myanmar this month, saying China was ready to work with Myanmar on tackling cross-border crime including online gambling.

Singapore's Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen called on China, as a dominant power in Asia, to take the lead in reducing tensions by being a benevolent one, warning that military conflict like the wars in Ukraine and Gaza would be devastating to the region's future.
Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Nong Rong visited Myanmar this month.Ng Han Guan / AP

Nong also said China supported Myanmar in maintaining stability on their common border as Myanmar’s junta battled insurgents in the area.

Myanmar’s ruling military is facing attacks on multiple fronts in its borderlands as an alliance of ethnic minority insurgent groups combines with pro-democracy fighters to challenge the junta’s rule.

China has called for peace.

“China has been playing a constructive role in its own way to promote peace talks and urge relevant parties to put the interests of the people first, cease fire and end war as soon as possible,” a foreign ministry spokesperson said Monday.


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