Wed, Dec 25, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Diplomats follow up on 32 arrested in Bangladesh

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Taiwanese diplomatic officials stationed in India arrived in Bangladesh around noon yesterday to learn more about the situation of 32 Taiwanese who were reportedly arrested in connection with an illegal Internet telephone operation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Anna Kao (高安) said yesterday.

They had not yet met with the Taiwanese nationals when they reported back to the ministry earlier yesterday, Kao said.

Kao said that the ministry has learned that 32 Taiwanese nationals and other foreign nationals were arrested in Bangladesh, but has not received information from its law enforcement officers as to their identities and reasons for arrest.

Prior to the diplomats’ arrival, the ministry asked personnel at the Taiwanese trade center in Dhaka, operated by the government-affiliated Taiwan External Trade Development Council, to seek more information about the case, she said, adding that the envoys would look deeper into the case and provide the necessary assistance to Taiwanese nationals.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported on Monday that Bangladeshi security forces arrested 37 Chinese and Taiwanese nationals after raiding an illegal Internet telephone operation they were allegedly running in a Dhaka neighborhood.

Officers from the elite Rapid Action Battalion raided the apartment block late on Sunday and arrested the foreigners operating cheap international calls through voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), battalion spokesman Habibur Rahman was quoted as saying in the AFP report.

The spokesman told the AFP that the arrested individuals rent the building to run an illegal VoIP business.

“We’ve examined their papers. They don’t have any work permits to operate in Bangladesh,” he was quoted by the AFP as saying.

The news agency said that phone companies in Bangladesh offering international calls — including through VoIP services — must obtain a license from the nation’s telecommunication regulator.

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