Wed, Jan 21, 2004 - Page 2 News List

SEF dispatches lawyers to help `spies' in China

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

A team of six local lawyers recruited by the Straits Exchange Foundation to help eight China-based Taiwanese businesspeople arrested for espionage is scheduled to visit China with the detainees' families after the Lunar New Year.

"While only Chinese lawyers can represent Taiwanese clients in Chinese court rooms, what we and the team will do for the arrested businesspeople is to pay them a humanitarian visit, hire high-caliber Chinese lawyers and offer our professional knowledge both in law and cross-strait negotiations," Yen Wan-ching (顏萬進), deputy secretary-general of the foundation, told a press conference yesterday afternoon.

Yen made the remarks after meeting with six of the detainees' families along with the six lawyers.

Kenneth Chiu (邱晃泉), of Kew & Lord law firm, said that although the lawyers would be unable to offer any direct services to the arrested Taiwanese businesspeople, they could provide other forms of assistance such as appealing to the Chinese government for humanitarian treatment.

According to Hanson Chiang (姜志俊) of the Hanson Law Office, the arrested Taiwanese businesspeople face jail terms of between six months and five years if convicted.

"Although the matter is still in the investigation stage and has not yet become a legal case, we have to act now and act fast," Chiang said.

As the mission of the team is to bring back the eight arrested Taiwanese businesspeople, Koo said that they will offer their utmost professional assistance to their Chinese counterparts.

"We'll not only work with them but also negotiate with and oversee what they do for our clients," he said.?

The other lawyers are: Fuldien Li (李復甸) of Li & Partners; Wellington Koo (顧立雄) of Formosa Transnational; Sunny Chang (張耿銘) of Horwath & Partners and Chian-feng (魏千峰), an attorney at law and the chairman of the Taiwan Association for Human Rights.

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