Opinion / Chen Weihua

Wrong moral compass breeds serious scams

By Chen Weihua (China Daily) Updated: 2016-04-22 08:24

Wrong moral compass breeds serious scams

Chinese telecom fraud suspects deported from Kenya get off a plane after arriving at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, capital of China, April 13, 2016.[Photo/Xinhua]

The news that 77 Chinese, including 45 Taiwan residents, were repatriated from Africa last week for alleged telecom fraud has shocked people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits.

According to the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, wire fraud criminals from Taiwan swindle in excess of 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) each year from Chinese mainland victims.

The swindlers, most of whom operate out of the African nation of Kenya, cause untold suffering to the victims by stealing their hard-earned money or life savings. Some victims become bankrupt, others commit suicide.

Such swindlers are criminals and should be punished. They should not be condoned in anyway. This has nothing to do with different ideologies or different social and political systems as some politicians in Taiwan like to claim.

Public anger about the rampant scams, a social tumor, is strong. News about various cons are found almost every day either on the Central Television station or local TV stations, whether it's someone who has installed a data theft device on a ATM, or salesmen who dupe senior citizens to believe that the products they sell, such as dietary supplements, are cure-alls.

I came across an 87-year-old woman recently who told me she had won two jackpots, one of 1 million yuan the other of 3 million yuan. She held two colorful letters in her hands, one supposedly from one of China's biggest banks. They were obviously fake, but she was excited about winning the prizes and serious about giving the senders the money they asked for. All she had to do to get the prize money was send 10,000 yuan (1,500) to pay for the taxes. Of course, I warned her not to.

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Wrong moral compass breeds serious scams