Despite uncertainty over if and when former Bamboo Union leader Chang An-le (張安樂) will return to Taiwan, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) is steadfast in its resolve to arrest him the moment he sets foot on Taiwanese soil, the agency said yesterday.
The agency was responding to comments Chang made during an interview earlier this year in which he said: “I will return to Taiwan after the third anniversary of my mother’s passing on May 14. From my 66th birthday onward, I wish to devote my remaining years to doing something for Taiwan.”
Born in 1948, Chang — nicknamed “the White Wolf” — is one of the nation’s 10 most-wanted fugitives. He escaped to China just before the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office listed him as a wanted person for violating the Organized Crime Prevention Act (組織犯罪防制條例) in 1996, and has not returned since.
Chang’s travel plans have been in the media spotlight since March, with some reports citing sources saying he would return on May 18 or at the end of this month. However, other reports say neither the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) nor the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau have received any such information.
Other sources have said Chang is to land at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at 2pm on June 29, but this has also not been confirmed by government sources.
The agency said Chang has been in China for more than four years and is regarded as a citizen of the “Mainland area” in accordance with the Act Governing Relations between the Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例).
Chang’s application for an Exit & Entry Permit for the Taiwan Area of the Republic of China has already been approved, the agency said, adding that his permit has been marked so law enforcement will be alerted to his identity when he passes through customs.
The Straits Exchange Foundation’s unilateral decision to authorize Chang’s application to return to Taiwan has drawn fire from the agency and the CIB, with both saying it has dealt a severe blow to the nation’s judicial authority and weakened its stance against crime.
The agency said the permit given to Chang is valid for six months, but would be automatically renewed for another six months if he does not entered Taiwan by Sept. 21.
Minister of the Interior Lee Hung-yuan (李鴻源) in March said his ministry was negotiating with China over the logistics of Chang’s return, adding that the best way was for CIB personnel to escort Chang to Taiwan in handcuffs.
However, the CIB said Taiwan’s past efforts to extradite Chang had been largely ignored by China, which declined to cooperate because Chang entered China before the Agreement on Jointly Cracking Down on Crime and Mutual Legal Assistance Across the Strait (海峽兩岸共同打擊犯罪及司法互助協議) was signed in 2009.
China has also voiced concern that if Chang — a prominent investor who employs many Chinese — is extradited, his businesses would closen, leaving many jobless.