SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Ninety-four people from Taiwan landed in Beijing on Friday after being deported from Spain as part of a joint operation against telecom fraud launched three years ago, the Chinese police ministry said in a statement.
The suspects were picked up in December 2016 in joint raids, dubbed “Operation Great Wall”, across Spain by Chinese and Spanish police, it said.
Spain’s initial approval of the extradition in early 2017 drew criticism from Taiwan, a self-governed democratic island that Beijing considers a breakaway province to be taken by force if necessary.
After two years of hearings, a Spanish court agreed to the extradition to China of all 237 suspects picked up in the raids. Spain has so far sent 225 suspects to China, including 218 from Taiwan, the Ministry of Public Security said.
Taiwanese suspected of telecom fraud have been deported to China, sometimes forcibly, from countries including Kenya, Cambodia and Armenia, according to the Taiwanese government.
Reporting by John Ruwitch; Editing by Paul Tait