Fri, Mar 29, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan agrees to cooperate with US on fighting crime

JUSTICE The two nations signed an accord that will see them collaborate on tracking down fugitives and swap information on criminal investigations

AFP , TAIPEI

Taipei and Washington have agreed to cooperate on fighting crime, an official said yesterday, as two of Taiwan's most wanted fugitives remained on the run.

The Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement on Criminal Matters was signed in Washington on Wednesday.

"But more discussions would be needed on how the agreement can be carried out," said Chiang Hui-ming, the deputy director of the Taiwan justice ministry's Prosecutorial Affairs Department.

Under the accord, the two nations would swap judicial and other information and collaborate on tracking down fugitives, combating drugs trafficking and money laundering.

According to the Liberty Times, at least 10 criminal suspects wanted by Taipei and believed to be at large in the US will now be brought to justice with Washington's help.

Taipei and Washington do not have an extradition agreement.

Taipei has also placed two other fugitives on its list of most wanted, according to the Liberty Times.

Former National Security Bureau chief cashier Liu Kuan-chun (劉冠軍) from the National Security Bureau (NSB) fled Taiwan Sept. 3, 2000, after he became the subject of an embezzlement investigation.

Next magazine last week revealed that a NT$3.5 billion (US$100 million) fund was established in 1994 using the bureau's budget surplus accumulated over the years.

Interest from the accounts subsidized intelligence operations in China, Hong Kong and Macau and diplomatic missions under the directive of then president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝).

Liu, whose whereabouts remain unclear, had been handling the accounts until his suspected embezzlement came to light.

Andrew Wang, an arms broker, is wanted for his role in Taiwan's worst military scandal involving tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks and the murder of a naval captain.

The agreement to work together on crime was signed by C.J. Chen (程建人), Taipei's de facto ambassador to Washington, and Richard Bush, chairman and managing director of the American Institute in Taiwan.

Although there has been no official reaction from China, local newspapers have said Beijing filed a protest with the US when negotiations on the agreement were held in Washington last year.

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