Twelve Taiwanese were among 40 foreign nationals detained by Indonesian authorities last week for alleged telecom fraud in Central Java’s capital, Semarang, the Taipei Economic and Trade Office in Jakarta said yesterday.
The office said that 11 of the 40 suspects held Taiwanese passports, while another is believed to be Taiwanese, but was unable to produce a Taiwanese passport.
The rest of the suspects are Chinese nationals, the office added.
The Indonesian Directorate-General of Immigration on Saturday notified the office of Thursday’s arrests and Representative to Indonesia John Chen (陳忠) yesterday sent officials to Semarang to verify the identities of those arrested, it said.
The Indonesian immigration office yesterday presented the suspects to the media, as well as the devices seized during a raid, which included computers and cellphones.
The Taiwanese are being detained at the immigration office in Semarang, the office said, adding that they are in good health.
Members of the fraud ring called people in China allegedly posing as police officers, prosecutors, judges or government officials from anti-money laundering agencies, directing them to transfer their money to a “safe account.”
The office said that it is negotiating with Indonesian authorities for the Taiwanese to be repatriated to Taiwan, rather than being deported to China.
Over the past few years, jurisdiction over Taiwanese suspects has become a tug-of-war between Taiwan and China, creating a headache for host countries.
In the case of Indonesia, some Taiwanese suspects have been deported to China and some to Taiwan, the office said.
In July 2017, Indonesian police coordinated with China to apprehend 143 telecom fraud suspects, including 22 Taiwanese, of whom 18 were later turned over to Beijing.
One month later, office personnel went to a police station when the Indonesian government was about to deport the remaining four Taiwanese to China.
They convinced the authorities to apply the principle of nationality and had them sent to Taipei.
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