Taiwan protests after Vietnam deports fraud suspects to China — “In Asia Today, We All Must Follow China’s Law”

Taipei angered after several foreign governments have sent Taiwanese crime suspects to the mainland in recent months

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Reuters
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Wednesday, 04 January 4, 2017
 Image may contain: 3 people, people standing

Taiwan on Tuesday strongly objected to the deportation of four Taiwanese nationals suspected of telecommunications fraud from Vietnam to mainland China, saying the move was carried out under pressure from Beijing.

The latest deportation followed a series of similar cases this year where Taiwanese nationals in Kenya, Malaysia, Armenia and Cambodia have been arrested for alleged involvement in cross-border telecom scam groups and sent to the mainland.

The deportations arose from the “one-China” policy of most countries under which they maintain formal relations only with the People’s Republic of China rather than Taiwan, a self-ruled island that Beijing regards as a Chinese renegade province.

The four suspects, along with one Chinese citizen, were arrested in the northern Vietnamese city of Haiphong in December. Despite repeated requests from Taiwan envoys in Vietnam to have the four deported to Taiwan, they were “forcibly” sent to the mainland, Taiwan’s foreign ministry said.

“China said that in this case the victims were mostly in China and demanded Vietnam to repatriate all of the suspects to China (based on a bilateral legal treaty), obstructing our efforts to understand the case and visit the Taiwanese suspects,” it said in a statement.

Taiwan’s China policymaker, the Mainland Affairs Council, urged Beijing on Tuesday to open dialogue as soon as possible, saying its actions were unhelpful in tracing the source of the cross-border fraud groups and affected mutual trust in joint Chinese-Taiwanese crime fighting efforts.

Beijing has suspended dialogue with Taipei since June, a month after independence-leaning Tsai Ing-wen took office.

Tsai has refused to accept Beijing’s “one China” principle that deems Taiwan a part of mainland China.

According to Mainland Affairs Council officials, there are over 200 Taiwanese suspected of telecom fraud who have been deported from third countries to mainland China this year.

Chinese authorities have sought to contain an explosion of telecom crime it says has led to huge financial losses, with callers often impersonating officials and preying on the elderly, students or the unemployed.

The fraud has spread overseas, with Chinese speakers recruited in neighbouring self-ruled Taiwan increasingly setting up operations in East Africa or Southeast Asia.

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A total of 97 Chinese telecom fraud suspects, including 32 from Taiwan, were sent back from Malaysia under the escort of Chinese police on April 30, 2016. The suspects are involved in more than 100 major transnational telecom frauds related to over 20 provincial areas in the Chinese mainland. [Photo/Xinhua]

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The Associated Press
January 5, 2017 at 7:55 am
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BEIJING (AP) – Taiwan has protested to Vietnam after the country deported four Taiwanese accused of fraud to its rival, China, alleging that this was done under pressure from Beijing.

Scores of Taiwanese have been arrested around the world in the past year in connection with vast telecoms fraud scams targeting Chinese. Countries including Malaysia, Cambodia and Kenya have recently deported Taiwanese suspects to China, in deference to Beijing’s claim to sovereignty over the self-governing island.

Taiwan has vigorously protested the deportations, saying it should be allowed to prosecute its own citizens. But it lacks diplomatic relations with many of the countries, which have close diplomatic and economic ties to Beijing.

The Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said this week that it “regretted” that the Vietnamese government violated the principle of governments exercising their jurisdiction over their overseas nationals. The ministry said mainland officials obstructed Taiwanese attempts to look into the case and visit its citizens, and despite several meetings, Vietnam “forcibly sent the suspects to the Chinese mainland under intense pressure.”

Beijing contends that Taiwan gives light treatment to the suspects, who are accused of extorting hundreds of Chinese by posing as bank or government officials. Chinese authorities say they should try the cases because their citizens are the primary victims and have been swindled out of millions of dollars.

China has upped pressure on Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in recent months, suspending contacts with her administration and waging a diplomatic campaign to further isolate Taiwan after she refused to endorse Beijing’s claim that Taiwan and the mainland are part of a single Chinese nation.

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