By ARITZ PARRA, AP
MADRID (AP) — China will seek the extradition of more than 200 of its citizens arrested in Spain in a crackdown on gangs that ran call centers that swindled 16 million euros ($17 million) from compatriots at home, a Chinese official said Wednesday.
Spanish National Police said the gangs made contact with people in China, pretending at first they were friends or family and warning them of fraud scams. In later calls, they pretended to be police investigating the scams and convinced many of the victims to put money in bank accounts run by the gangs.
Police said they have dismantled 13 call centers run out of houses in towns around Madrid and the eastern cities of Barcelona and Alicante.
The operation Tuesday was carried out in conjunction with Chinese authorities, who launched the investigation.
Zhu Jian, a consular official at the Chinese embassy in Madrid, told The Associated Press that China would seek the extradition of those arrested for trial in China.
The suspects include some Taiwan citizens.
China considers the self-governing island Chinese territory. Spain does not have diplomatic ties with Taiwan and signed an extradition treaty with China in 2006.
Police Commissioner Eugenio Pereiro said the network was run out of Taiwan and operated on five continents. He said it has a strong presence in Greece and Armenia.
He said thousands of Chinese, including many poor people, fell for the scam, and some committed suicide as a result.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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