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Expropriating Illegal Proceeds via Cross-strait Mutual Judicial Assistance - the first case of refunding fraud payments to mainland China victims

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Today (April 25, 2014) is the fifth anniversary of the conclusion of the “Cross-strait Joint Crime-Fighting and Judicial Mutual Assistance Agreement" (hereinafter referred to as the “ Agreement”), and there has been a significant development in the aspect of expropriating illegal proceeds. Through the close communication and arrangements between the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and China Ministry of Public Security (MPS), a total of NTD620,000, in accordance with our proportion of the seized amount, was returned to five Chinese victims who suffered losses from cross-strait scam gangs. Prior to this, Taiwanese victims also suffered losses from cross-strait scam groups, of which, through the communication and cooperation of MOJ and the Supreme People's Court (SPC), 17 Taiwanese victims had received a total of NTD11 million returned money seized by China in June of 2013. Furthermore, in April of this year, a Taiwanese victim received a full refund, retrieving an amount of NTD 40,000 (RMB 8,264). Following the heavy travel of people on both sides, scam groups, either Taiwanese defrauding mainland Chinese from Taiwan or mainland Chinese scamming people in Taiwan, have emerged. Depending on the situation, some of them were arrested in Taiwan or China. In order to effectively seize criminal proceeds and, thereby to enable the victims on the two sides to recover money, MOJ and MPS has developed intensive talks on issues of illegal proceeds seized and returned of cross-strait crimes since October of last year (2013), and each party has established a “Cross-strait Task Force foro Coordinating and Handling Illegal Proceeds.” (hereinafter referred to as the “TasK Force”). The Task Force fully discussed and consulted on issues of legal systems for seizing and returning illegal proceeds , the communication and coordination mechanism of transferring cross-strait illegal proceeds and implementation methods of mutual assistance. In the meantime, both sides have reached a consensus on the ways of investigation, the designs of forms, the related procedures and practical measures. This February and March, in order to return the illegal proceeds to mainland Chinese victims, Taiwan Changhua District Prosecutors Office (CDPO) and Taichung District Prosecutors Office (TDPO) respectively requested MPS to provide each victim’s personal information through MOJ as well as transferred prosecutors’ seizure orders and relevant documents to the said mainland Chinese victims. MOJ, upon receipt of the reply from MPS concerning their completion of service of documents and relevant procedures, immediately forwarded such messages to each related prosecutors office of the district court. CDPO and TDPO then remitted a total of NTD620,000 to mainland Chinese victims according to the proportion of fraud amount on April 23 and 24.

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