The government is to send an official delegation to China on Monday to meet with Chinese authorities over the criminal investigation of 54 Taiwanese suspects deported from Kenya and detained in Beijing on charges of engaging in telephone fraud.
Executive Yuan spokesperson Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群) said the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) held a meeting yesterday morning and decided that a special task force would be set up for the Kenya case and that a team consisting officials from the MAC, the Ministry of Justice, the Straits Exchange Foundation and the Criminal Investigation Bureau would leave for China on Monday.
“The aim [of the trip] is to provide assistance to the families [of the detained Taiwanese] and to set up a general mechanism for cross-strait cooperation on clamping down on crimes that involve a third [country],” Sun said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Justice Luo Ying-shay (羅瑩雪) said that talks had been under way with Chinese government agencies to work out details of the Taiwanese delegation’s involvement.
“The talks have been ongoing for several days. Then officials from China’s Ministry of Public Security contacted us late on Thursday night, and they agreed Taiwan’s side should organize a delegation to join in the judicial investigation into this case,” Luo said.
Deputy Minister of Justice Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂) added that the priority is to negotiate with Chinese officials to ensure Taiwanese lawyers and judiciary officials are present when Chinese authorities conduct questioning and apply other judicial procedures to the Taiwanese.
Chen said the delegation, composed of at least one prosecutor and judiciary officials, along with law enforcement officials and representatives for cross-strait negotiations, hopes to be able to visit the 54 Taiwanese, as well as seek to obtain evidence of the suspects’ alleged involvement in criminal activities, and put in requests to repatriate them for judicial investigation in Taiwan.
“However, we do not know if all our objectives can be achieved. It will depend on how the negotiations progress, and so we have to negotiate our requests with Chinese authorities in a step-by-step manner,” he said.
Legislators had approved a resolution on Thursday to demand that lawyers must be present when Chinese judicial officials question the Taiwanese suspects.
Chen said the Ministry of Justice would fax the legislators’ resolution to China so Chinese authorities can understand the requests, “but we also have to respect the judicial process of China’s justice system.”
Meanwhile, Luo spoke yesterday on the controversy during a question-and-answer session at the legislature on Thursday, in what was described as verbal skirmishes and heated clashes involving legislators over a perceived betrayal of the principles of national sovereignty and legal rights protection over the Kenya deportation affair.
Luo said she was just speaking her mind.
“In the past, I tried to be tolerant and not respond in such a direct, cutting manner when grilled by legislators. It was for the sake of preserving the fiscal budget allocation for the Ministry of Justice,” she said.
“Now I am in the bottom of the ninth inning and ready to finish up the game, so I don’t have to hold back,” she said, referring to the end of her term on May 20.
Additional reporting by Alison Hsiao
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