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Armenia Deports 129 Telecom Fraud Suspects To China; Taiwan Protests

Armenia has sent 129 Chinese and Taiwanese telecoms fraud suspects to China for investigation and likely prosecution.

Media reports on September 8 said they were arrested in raids on six locations in August and that China had sent a team to aid in the investigation later that month.

The decision to send some 78 Taiwanese to China prompted a protest from Taiwan's government to both Armenia and China. Taipei says Beijing has no right to hold them and demands suspects in such cases be handed over to Taiwanese authorities.

Taiwan, which Beijing claims is a renegade province of China, has been angered by several incidents this year in which countries around the world, including Kenya, Cambodia and Malaysia, have deported Taiwanese wanted on fraud charges back to China, rather than to Taiwan.

China's Xinhua news agency said the group from Armenia was suspected of posing as Chinese law-enforcement officers to extort Chinese out of about $1.2 million spread across 50 different cases. China says it has the right to prosecute since the victims of the crimes were its citizens.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and Xinhua