Suspected Chinese criminals return from Angola: state media

Three dozen Chinese suspected of criminal acts against compatriots in Angola arrived in Beijing on Saturday under police guard as China targets crimes by its nationals overseas, state media reported.

The 37 people are suspected of involvement in kidnapping, robbery, blackmail, human trafficking and forced prostitution, Xinhua news agency quoted the Ministry of Public Security as saying.

Their alleged victims also returned home on the same flight, Xinhua said.

China's CCTV television showed the suspects, handcuffed and their faces largely covered by hoods, being led off a jet at Beijing's airport and taken away in waiting buses.

Special police teams dispatched to Angola busted 12 criminal organizations and a total of 48 cases in cooperation with police in the West African country, Xinhua said. A total of 14 victims were rescued, it said.

The operation marked the first time that Chinese police had carried out a large-scale operation of that nature in Africa, Xinhua said.

It quoted Liu Ancheng, head of the ministry's criminal division, as lauding cooperation between police in the two countries.

Some of the suspected crimes were brutal in nature, Xinhua reported, citing allegations that to extract ransoms some victims had gasoline poured on them before being burned and some were buried alive.

China's presence in Africa has boomed over the past 15 years as it has sought to tap into the region's vast natural resources.

China became Africa's largest trading partner in 2009 and Beijing said last month it would offer $20 billion in new loans to the continent.

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