The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday expressed regret over the Philippines’ decision to deport seven Taiwanese fraud suspects to China, the second such move in less than a year.
“With regard to the Philippine government’s forced deportation of seven Taiwanese nationals suspected of telecom fraud today [Tuesday], we express deep concerns and regret over the matter,” deputy spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) told a routine news conference in Taipei.
The ministry had been negotiating with Manila since 13 Taiwanese were arrested in October last year in the northern Philippines in connection with fraud allegations, asking it to handle Taiwanese cases in accordance with the nationality principle and the suspects’ preferences, and to deport them to Taiwan for further investigation.
Photo: Lu Yi-hsuan, Taipei Times
Despite the best efforts of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines, Manila chose to deport seven of the 13 to China in disregard of international customs and principles, as well as the suspects’ rights, Ou said.
The Philippines in April last year deported 78 Taiwanese telecom fraud suspects to China who had been among more than 150 foreigners arrested in January in Metro Manila and Ilocos Sur province by the Philippine cybercrime police.
While urging Taiwanese not to engage in illegal activities when abroad, Ou also called on Manila to strengthen bilateral anti-crime cooperation with Taipei to combat transnational crimes.
Under a memorandum of understanding on combating transnational crimes signed by the two countries in March 2017, the Philippines has extradited several Taiwanese fugitives, including former Tainan County council speaker Wu Chien-pao (吳健保) and Israeli-American Oren Shlomo Mayer.
The Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei yesterday said that its government “deemed it necessary to send the suspects to Beijing for trial” as most of the victims and evidence were in China.
Manila would continue to adhere to the international community’s efforts to stop transborder crime by ensuring that perpetrators are effectively prosecuted and that punishment is meted out, it said.
The remaining six Taiwanese are in custody in Manila, where they are to face trial, because they have committed other crimes in Manila, it added.
Several nations have chosen to abide by Beijing’s “one China” principle and deported more than 400 Taiwanese fraud suspects to China since April 2016, including Kenya, Armenia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam.
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