Tue, Jan 16, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Wang believed to be in the US

ON THE RUN Officials have been in touch with Interpol and Washington as the Rebar Group chairman and his wife are thought to have fled China and taken refuge in the US

By Shih Hsiu-chuan, Jewel Huang and Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

A wealthy fugitive couple has been placed on the most-wanted list, with law enforcement officials saying they are now seeking the assistance of Interpol and the US government, as the two have fled China and are now in the US.

The fugitives, Rebar Asia Pacific Group (力霸亞太企業集團) chairman Wang You-theng (王又曾) and his wife Wang Chin She-ying (王金世英), are at the center of a major financial scandal and are believed to have stolen and embezzled millions of dollars before going on the lam.

Taipei District Prosecutors' Office spokesman Lin Jinn-tsun (林錦村) said yesterday that prosecutors have asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to cancel the couple's "Republic of China, Taiwan" passports in a bid to restrict their movements.

But prosecutors believe the couple hold passports from other countries.

Prosecutors on Friday issued arrest warrants for Wang and his wife on charges relating to embezzlement from his firms, but the couple failed to show up.

Shanghai

Immigration records show that Wang flew to Hong Kong on Dec. 30, with his wife following on Jan. 1. The two were later spotted at a luxury hotel in Shanghai, media reports said.

Meanwhile, senior officials said the couple had fled China and made their way to the US on Saturday.

"They got on an airplane bound for San Francisco at 11:20am in Shanghai last Saturday. Wang You-theng presented a Republic of China passport to enter the US, while his wife presented a US passport," Cabinet Spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said.

After Wang and his wife fled to China, the government urged Beijing to deport them to Taiwan.

"If [reports that Wang and his wife] entered the US prove to be true, it shows that China has no sincerity in answering the government's request [for extradition]. Instead, the Chinese government helped them abscond," Cheng said.

Cheng said that China was a haven for Taiwanese white-collar criminals.

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) has instructed the MOFA to negotiate with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) on the possibility of judicial assistance in this case, Cheng said.

Meanwhile, the government has also asked the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) to assist in locating Wang and his wife, Criminal Investigation Bureau Supervisor Hsu Jui-shan (許瑞山) said during a public hearing in the legislature.

Red Notice

Hsu said that the bureau last week requested the inclusion of Wang and his wife on a "Red Notice" from Interpol. A Red Notice is essentially a notice to police agencies worldwide that a person is wanted, and requests Interpol members to help locate wanted individuals for arrest and extradition.

"We have informed the organization that Wang and his wife are involved in major crimes in Taiwan, and today we will let [Interpol] know that [the Wangs] have been placed on the wanted list," he said.

MOFA Spokesman David Wang (王建業) held a news conference last night to explain how the MOFA was handling the matter.

"We have asked our representative offices in the US to confirm [the couple's presence in the US] with US agencies. But because of the time difference and the fact that it is Martin Luther King Jr Day, a US national holiday, we have not obtained a response so far," David Wang said.

David Wang also said that the MOFA had alerted the US and other countries that Wang You-theng might engage in international money laundering.

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