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Experts defend mainland's jurisdiction over Taiwanese fraud suspects

BEIJING, April 14 -- Kenya's deportation of Taiwanese telecom fraud suspects to the Chinese mainland within the past week was lawful and reasonable, according to legal observers on the mainland.

There were 45 Taiwanese among 77 Chinese alleged fraud syndicate members who arrived in the mainland on Saturday and Wednesday. It is the first time that China has such a large group of telecom fraud suspects repatriated from Africa.

"As all victims are from the mainland, judicial organs on the mainland have legal rights of jurisdiction over the repatriated Taiwanese suspects, according to the principle of territorial jurisdiction required in international criminal litigation," said Lin Wei, vice president of China Youth University of Political Studies.

The deportations have sparked debate in Taiwan about the mainland's jurisdiction in the case. Mainland authorities said Taiwan has been too lenient in its handling telecom fraudsters in the past.

In many of the cases handled by Taiwan's judicial organs, suspects were not brought to justice and victims on the mainland were unable to retrieve their lost money, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

Quite a few Taiwanese suspects were released as soon as they were returned to Taiwan and some resumed their wrongdoing soon after, said Liu Huawen, assistant director of the Institute of International Law under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"They have caused a tremendous loss to people on the Chinese mainland," said Liu.

"Telecom fraud has been regarded as quite a petty act of swindling in Taiwan, with short prison sentences and light financial penalties," said Fan Chongyi, a professor at China University of Political Science and Law.

Taiwanese authorities should be tougher on such criminals, Fan said.