BEIJING — Nearly 500 people were seized by police across Asia over an $11.5-million telecom scam targeting people in China, state media said on Thursday.
Most of the 482 people held were from China and Taiwan. They were arrested there and in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Fiji, the Chinese state news agency Xinhua said.
The accused, who were taken in on Wednesday, are said to have defrauded their Chinese victims of a total of 73 million yuan ($11.5 million), it said.
The rest of the suspects are from Thailand and Myanmar.
"The group mainly squeezed money from individuals or companies by calling them in the name of police or procuratorial staff and threatening to accuse them of money-laundering crimes," said Liu Ancheng, deputy director of China's Criminal Investigation Bureau.
They asked the victims to transfer money into the gang's accounts and then told accomplices in Taiwan and Thailand to withdraw the money from local cash machines, Liu was quoted as saying.
The ringleaders were from Taiwan, Liu said.
What Xinhua called "money-laundering dens" were also found in Taiwan and Thailand.
China's Ministry of Public Security launched an investigation in November and invited police from Taiwan -- a self-ruled island which Beijing considers part of its territory -- to "work out effective solutions".
The report quoted the ministry as lauding the cooperation between all the territories and countries.
"The ministry said it regards the coordinated crackdown on the telecom scam as a new paradigm of international police cooperation," it said.
Xinhua added: "China's law-enforcement departments are always confident in, and capable of, safeguarding the security of people's property."
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