Fri, Aug 06, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Extradition sought of two fugitives caught in Xiamen

By Joy Su  /  STAFF REPORTER WITH CNA

Following the recent arrest of two of the nation's most wanted fugitives in Xiamen, authorities yesterday called on China to cooperate in extraditing notorious kidnapper Hsueh Chiu (薛球) and his accomplice, Chen Yi-hua (陳益華).

"It does not matter if we extradite [Hsueh and Chen] in accordance with the Kinmen Agreement or if we decide on another option. As long as they are repatriated as soon as possible, all methods of extradition are acceptable," Minister of the Interior Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) said yesterday.

The Kinmen Agreement, signed by the Red Cross Societies of Taiwan and China, contains provisions for the repatriation of individuals, criminals and suspects illegally entering either country.

However, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday admitted that details of the extradition of the two were still unclear.

"It is possible that Hsueh is suspected of committing crimes in China as well. If this involves problems of jurisdiction, the situation would be more complicated and would depend on further consultation," MAC legal affairs department director Jeff Yang (楊家駿) told reporters on Wednesday.

MAC Vice Chairman Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) said that in accordance with Executive Yuan policies, individuals who aid in the arrest of the nation's most wanted fugitives are entitled to a reward of NT$20 million. Chiu said the policy did not necessarily rule out the possibility of rewarding Chinese citizens.

According to Su, police in Taiwan had received a tip about the whereabouts of the two fugitives, and Chinese authorities captured Hsueh and Chen.

Su said that the Criminal Investigation Bureau was working on contacting their Chinese counterparts and negotiating the terms of extradition.

"If they ask for the reward, of course we'll have to give it to them," Su said. He added that the reward might not be accepted and that no conclusions had been reached on the matter yet.

The two fugitives have long been sought by investigative authorities. Most recently, Hsueh and Chen were accused of attempting to blackmail Yang Teng-kuei (楊登魁), owner of the GTV cable TV station.

In addition, Hsueh and Chen have been accused of kidnapping the three sons and brother-in-law of a wealthy Chiayi businessman in March of last year.

The two are also wanted for kidnapping Taichung City Council Vice Speaker Chang Hung-nien (張宏年) on Oct. 1, 2002.

Chinese police arrested Chen on July 6 and Hsueh on July 14.

Despite the details to be worked out in the case, there are precedents for cross-strait criminal extradition.

According to Yang, since the Kinmen Agreement was signed in 1990, Taiwan has asked China to assist in the arrest of 529 fugitives, and over 200 have been successfully repatriated. China has independently extradited 91 Taiwanese fugitives without having first received requests from Taiwanese authorities.

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