Sun, Feb 04, 2007 - Page 1 News List

US immigration holding fugitive Wang

DECISION An immigration hearing within the next seven days will decide whether Wang You-theng will be allowed to stay in the US or be repatriated, US officials said

By Charles Snyder, Max Hirsch and Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTERS IN WASHINGTON AND TAIPEI

"In this case, [Wang] has been issued a notice to appear, basically formally placing him in immigration removal proceedings on charges that he was an arriving alien without a valid visa," she added.

He will have an opportunity to go before an immigration judge in the near future, and the judge will be the ultimate adjudicator of whether or not he will be admitted to the US, Kice said.

In Taipei, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokeswoman Yeh Fei-bi (葉非比) praised the US yesterday for "helping a lot" in the case.

"The US canceled Wang You-theng's US visa right away and denied him entry," Yeh said at a press conference held yesterday afternoon, adding that Wang You-theng's detention didn't constitute "entry" into the US.

The ministry said Wang You-theng was being held at the Santa Anna detention center in Los Angeles amid reports that he intends to apply for political asylum in the US.

"His case is now a legal matter between himself and the US authorities, and we will play an active role in that case," Yeh said.

"The case involving the Wangs has caused tremendous damage to our country, and the government has put a premium from the beginning on bringing them to justice. The president and premier have urged the government to do their utmost to that end," she added.

"Although we haven't been able to get the couple extradited yet, our ministry will continue to do its utmost," she said.

The US government has been briefed on all aspects of the case and continues to actively communicate with Taiwan, she added.

Also detained at Los Angeles International Airport was a TVBS reporter, who boarded the same Singapore Airlines Flight 38 as the couple in a bid to cover the story.

The reporter was detained by US immigration for filming in a restricted area of Los Angeles Airport.

US immigration officials detained and then deported the reporter for filming in the airport terminal, Yeh added, saying that such activities violated the terms of the reporter's US tourist visa, and were against airport security protocol.

The reporter was forced to board a flight back to Singapore at 11:25pm local time yesterday, Yeh said.

Two other reporters from SET TV were also questioned by customs officers for lingering in the terminal building.

The two reporters decided to pass through immigration control after being asked to leave the terminal building.

Cabinet Spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) yesterday said Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) had met Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang (黃志芳) yesterday morning to discuss the possible outcomes of the case.

Huang oversaw an all-night operation at the ministry from Friday evening into the wee hours of yesterday.

He reportedly spent the night holding meetings with staffers, supervising communications with the US authorities and monitoring the situation.

Director of the Ministry of Justice's Department of Prosecutorial Affairs Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) told the Taipei Times his department was keeping in touch with officials from the US' Department of Justice.

"Early this [yesterday] morning, we sent the latest evidence that prosecutors have gathered to the US authorities," Tsai said.

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