Wang Chuo-chun and Meng JIanzhu on Cross-Strait Win/Win
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
June 14, 2011
Police on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are cooperating with police in Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia and Thailand. They are engaged in cross-Strait and transnational crime-fighting efforts. Authorities from these six regions are conducting a coordinated sweep of criminal organizations running confidence games. They have arrested 598 suspects. Among them, 186 are from the Chinese mainland, 410 are from Taiwan, one is from Cambodia, and one is from Vietnam. They have broken up 160 confidence game centers. They have seized bank cards, computers, mobile phones, and numerous other tools of the trade. Suspects from Taiwan have been successfully captured in Cambodia and Indonesia and returned to Taiwan for interrogation. This is unprecedent in Republic of China history, on both Taiwan and the Chinese mainland.
In September 1990, Red Cross organizations from both sides of the Strait met in Kinmen. They discussed cooperation in combating criminal activities, in the handling of illegal immigrants and criminal suspects, and in the repatriation of criminals. They signed the Kinmen Agreement for Cross-Strait Police Cooperation. They targeted major criminal cases, including murders, drug trafficking cases, and media cases. The SEF and ARATS signed the "Cross-Strait Mutal Legal Assistance Crime-fighting Agreement" two years ago. But it remains a work in progress.
The current cross-Strait and transnational effort has netted a large number of criminal organizations responsible for running confidence games. The current effort originated from clues gathered by Taichung district prosecutors while investigating telecommunications fraud. High-level police officials on both sides of the Strait considered these cases of great importance. They discussed options for cooperation. They focused not just on homicides and kidnapping, but on innocent people taken in by telecommunications fraud. Police on both sides of the Strait have been attentive to the feelings of the people.
Taiwan style confidence games appeared on the crime scene over 20 years ago. In the early days, they mailed letters and handed out flyers. When recipients phoned in, they were conned. Later this evolved into the use of home phone landline calls which did not reveal their location. They conned their victims while hiding in the dark. As communications technology advanced, Taiwan style confidence games took a Great Leap Forward. They established fixed or mobile machine rooms. By connecting with the Internet, they cast a global net and raked in money from the world over.
In the early days, the police and courts on Taiwan attached little importance such confidence games. They simply appealed to the public through the media, urging them not to be moved by greed. In recent years however, the number of individuals and families victimized by telecommuncations fraud has soared. Middle class and upper class people have also been conned. They too have lost money. Public discontent has swelled. Only then did police begin looking into these crimes. Such investigations, along with media coverage and public education, have reduced the number of victims on Taiwan. Con artists now perceive the Chinese mainland as the emerging market for telecommuncations fraud. They have "gone west," en masse. They have spread to neighboring countries in Southeast Asia to avoid being tracked down.
Taiwan style confidence games have begun operating cross-Strait and transnationally. Therefore police must have cross-Strait and international mobility. Otherwise they can only sit passively outside their nation's doors, hoping eventually to make an arrest. This is why over the past 20 years, murderers, drug traffickers, economic criminals, corrupt politicians, and telecommunications fraud con artists have moved to the Chinese mainland. Last year and this year, National Police Administration Chief Wang Cho-chun made two visits to the Mainland. He met directly with State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu. Central government officials have long met through intermediaries. Breaking with precedent has helped cross-Strait police cooperation.
This move brought down cross border, transnational organizations running telecommunications confidence games. On Taiwan, the National Police Administration's Criminal Investigation Bureau was in charge. On the Mainland, according to Xinhua, "The case was under the direct command of State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu. The Ministry of Public Security and Taiwan police officials conducted joint operations. Together with Cambodian and Indonesian police officials, they coordinated their efforts and closed the net."
Cross-Strait relations have warmed over the past three years. Mutual cooperation has increased. Bilateral agreements have been signed, and successful exchanges have taken place. ECFA has been a genuine help to industrialists, farmers, and fishermen on Taiwan. But many people remain unmoved. They insist that the Chinese mainland is making concession merely for the sake of reunification, and that only certain targets and certain groups benefit.
Wang and Meng met. They midwifed the birth of a way to bring down telecommuncations fraud. This shows that cross-Strait cooperation and a willingness to do real work, brings one closer to the common people. Such cross-Strait cooperation may raise concerns about linkage with reunification. Among the victims of telecommunications fraud, Mainland residents outnumber Taiwan residents. Since December of last year, the Chinese mainland has been hit by telecommunications fraud in one city after another, in Chongqing, Shaanxi, Hunan, and Fujian, Prosecutors and police on Taiwan are investigating these crimes. They can prevent many people from being victimized on the Mainland. They can ensure justice for those who are already victims.
Mutual assistance in law enforcement and criminal prosecution requires considerable cross-Strait cooperation. Conspicuous crimes such as drug trafficking and trafficking in human beings, along with violent crimes, inflict enormous damage on law and order. The organizations committing these evil deeds long ago crossed the Strait and internationalized. Unilateral police action inevitably leads to unnecesary duplication, and is unlikely to be effective. Only cross-border law enforcement can successfully achieve the larger goals. Cross-Strait cooperation in combating criminal organizations has achieved results. It offers a model for other forms of cooperation, in the political, economic, social and cultural fields. Cooperation such as this can achieve real results. How can people not be moved?