Taiwan delegates seek release of fraud suspects

TAIPEI • A high-level delegation arrived in Beijing from Taiwan yesterday to seek the release of 45 Taiwanese suspects who are being detained in China for alleged telecommunications fraud.

Taiwan's Minister of Justice-designate Chiu Tai-san said that both sides should reach an agreement on dealing with different types of fraud cases so as to complement an existing pact on criminal justice cooperation.

There was uproar in Taiwan when Kenya deported the 45 suspects to China this month.

China regards self-ruled Taiwan as a wayward province and Kenya said it deported the 45 back to where they came from.

Kenya does not have official relations with democratic Taiwan, considering it part of "one China" in line with Communist Party leaders in Beijing.

At the weekend, China slammed Taiwan for freeing 20 Taiwanese suspects who had been deported from Malaysia in a separate case linked to China.

Taiwan said it had no evidence to justify detaining the individuals.

Taiwan's Justice Ministry said on Tuesday that officials hoped to establish a way to jointly investigate the two cases and visit the detained Taiwanese.

Mr Chen Wen-chi, the director-general of the Department of International and Cross-Strait Legal Affairs under the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), is leading the delegation.

The group comprises officials from the MOJ, the Criminal Investigation Bureau, the Mainland Affairs Council and the Straits Exchange Foundation, reported online news outlet Taiwan Today.

Mr Chen was quoted by Chinese state broadcaster China Central Television as saying: "For cases already in existence, we hope to work toward joining hands to investigate and handle them... For similar cases that might possibly happen in the future, we hope to establish a reasonable and regular mechanism to deal with them."

China's Ministry of Public Security said last week that Taiwanese have been heavily involved in Chinese telecoms fraud and have caused huge losses.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 21, 2016, with the headline 'Taiwan delegates seek release of fraud suspects'. Print Edition | Subscribe