Concluding an extradition agreement with the US is one of Taiwan’s top priorities and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs remains fully committed to negotiating a deal, an official said yesterday.
“Our staff have been working diligently toward this goal and negotiations have been proceeding without interruption,” Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Shen Ssu-tsun (沈斯淳) said in response to a question at a hearing held by the legislature’s Foreign and National Defense Committee.
The extradition pact issue came to the fore when Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) said on Monday that Huang Fang-yen (黃芳彥), former first lady Wu Shu-jen’s (吳淑珍) family doctor, who is wanted by judicial authorities for his suspected role in Wu’s corruption case, is leading a comfortable life in California.
Chiu displayed a photo showing Huang sipping white wine with a friend at what he said was an upscale restaurant in Irvine, California.
During the hearing, KMT Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) asked Shen about his views on Huang’s circumstances, suggesting that the ministry should work even harder to strike an extradition accord with the US.
Lin said 64 fugitives wanted by judicial authorities, including Huang, are known to be residing in the US.
“These people have swindled huge amounts of money from our national coffers or from individual citizens and this is why many people hope the ministry can speed up extradition pact negotiations with the US,” Lin said.
Shen agreed, saying the ministry would redouble its efforts to achieve the goal at the earliest possible date.
Chen Wen-yi (陳文義), deputy director-general of the ministry’s Department of North American Affairs, said at the hearing that Taiwan has been in talks with the US on an extradition pact for some time, but an agreement has yet to be reached because the negotiations involve complicated issues involving differences between the two countries’ legal systems.
Chen said the talks were proceeding in a positive atmosphere.
Huang, who traveled to the US in 2008, was first listed as a witness in the investigation into corruption and money laundering allegations involving former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and his family.
Prosecutors on the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office’s Special Investigation Panel changed Huang’s status to that of a potential defendant after he repeatedly failed to respond to subpoenas.
In 2009, Huang was put on the wanted list.