Thu, Aug 24, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Taiwan asks Philippines to extradite Chen Yu-hao

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Fugitive former Tuntex Group chairman Chen Yu-hao, second left, poses for a photograph with Philippine Economic Zone Authority Director-General Charito Ching Plaza, center, and others during a visit to the Philippines early last month.

Photo: CNA

The government has asked Philippine authorities to arrest and extradite Chen Yu-hao (陳由豪), one of the nation’s most-wanted fugitives, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokeswoman Eleanor Wang (王珮玲) said yesterday.

The ministry and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Manila have made several requests to Philippine authorities to extradite Chen, former chairman of conglomerate Tuntex Group (東帝士), after learning that he is planning a major investment project in the Philippines, Wang told reporters.

Chen is planning to invest US$369 billion in the Philippines as part of China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, which seeks to build a modern Silk Road linking Asia, Africa and Europe, she said.

Wang warned Manila about risks related to investments by Chen, as he is one of the top economic criminals to have fled Taiwan.

Despite the warning, sources from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) said the country welcomes Chen’s investment.

PEZA Director Charito Ching Plaza was very enthusiastic about proposed projects from Xiang Lu Dragon Group (翔鷺騰龍集團), which Chen owns, including an 85-story building in Manila and a petrochemical facility in Pangasinan province.

Asked whether the investment would be beneficial, a Filipino official who spoke on condition of anonymity said it was hard to judge based on Chen’s history, but it was evident that Chen has “connections” in the Philippines by how he was able to have his name removed from a blacklist.

On June 6, Chen was denied entry into the Philippines because he was blacklisted at the request of Taiwan. He asked for assistance from the Chinese embassy in the Philippines, but had returned to China by the time he was cleared for entry on June 9.

He then applied for a Philippine visa on June 23 and visited the country on July 7.

Chen acquired Chinese citizenship in 2013. Taiwan has since revoked his Republic of China citizenship.

“Taiwan has made repeated requests to the Philippines to extradite Chen to Taiwan, demonstrating Taiwan’s determination to bring the fugitive to justice,” Wang said.

The Philippines has denied Taiwan’s request, saying Chen had entered the country from China and it could only repatriate Chen to China.

Deputy Minister of Justice Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂) said the ministry has asked Beijing to repatriate Chen Yu-hao in accordance with the Cross-Strait Joint Crime-Fighting and Judicial Mutual Assistance Agreement (海峽兩岸共同打擊犯罪及司法互助協議), adding that the ministry would continue its efforts to secure his extradition from the Philippines.

In January last year, the government confiscated 24 plots of land in Taipei owned by Chen after they once again attracted no interest at an auction held by the Ministry of Justice. Their sale is intended to raise money to pay Chen’s outstanding tax bill.

Chen, who holds a US passport, fled to the US after dissolving Tuntex Group in 2001, when Taiwanese authorities launched a probe into allegations he embezzled NT$70 billion (US$2.31 billion at the current exchange rate). The statute of limitations on the case expired during his stay in the US.

Chen also owes the Taiwanese government NT$415 million in personal income taxes.

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