MOFA fighting to repatriate fraud suspects held in Spain

By Lu Yi-hsuan  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Dec 08, 2017 - Page 3

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday said it will continue to work with the Ministry of Justice and the National Police Agency to repatriate the 218 Taiwanese held in Madrid in a telecom fraud case so that they can be tried in a Taiwanese court.

The foreign ministry holds firm on its stance, Department of European Affairs Director-General Anna Kao (高安) said yesterday during a weekly news conference.

The Spanish authorities in December last year during a joint raid with the Chinese government arrested 268 suspects working for suspected telecom fraud rings, 218 of whom are Taiwanese.

President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration filed a request with Spanish authorities that the suspects be extradited and in January summoned Spanish Representative to Taiwan Jose Luis Echaniz Cobas to explain the nation’s hope that Madrid would grant the suspects repatriation.

However, the Spanish Cabinet in a motion decided that all of the Taiwanese suspects would be sent to China after their trials in Spain.

Appeals in the cases have recently concluded and verdicts are expected to be passed down by a Spanish court before the end of this year, Kao said.

The ministry and the nation’s representative office in Spain will continue to help the government address the case and have forwarded all relevant information to an intergovernmental task force on curbing telecom fraud, which is overseen by the Executive Yuan, she said.

The government hopes that the suspects will be allowed to return as soon as possible, Kao said.

However, it is unlikely that the legal procedures will end soon, because they are represented by different attorneys and the verdicts can be appealed, she said.