Taiwan Protests Philippines Extradition

Taiwan’s Ministry Of Foreign Affairs is threatening to “re-examine” exchanges with Manila following the extradition of 14 Taiwanese from the Philippines to mainland China. From the Taipei Times:

“We are firmly against such an act and will re-examine all exchanges between the two countries,” the ministry said in a statement.

It said Manila’s National Bureau of Investigation and Beijing’s Ministry of Public Security had formed a joint task force and arrested 14 Taiwanese and 10 Chinese suspected of international racketeering during a raid in Manila on Dec. 27.

The ring’s victims are believed to be Chinese, with the gang netting NT$600 million (US$20.6 million) from their swindles. Beijing asked Manila to extradite all 24 suspects to China in accordance with an extradition treaty signed between the two countries in 2001, the ministry statement said.

The ministry’s representative to the Philippines has visited the 14 Taiwanese several times after learning of the extradition and firmly requested Manila return them to Taiwan for trial, it said.

Xinhua’s report on the arrests in December described the group’s schemes, and stressed the participation of Taiwanese authorities:

With members spreading among the mainland, Taiwan, and the Philippines, the fraud ring first made phone calls from the Philippines to a targeted individual on the Chinese mainland, claiming the latter was involved in money laundering crimes.

After persuading the victim to deposit his or her own money into a newly-opened bank card, the ring members would next transfer the money out of the account.

During the crackdown, the police arrested 178 suspects on the Chinese mainland, Taiwan and in the Philippines, and uncovered 451 related phone fraud cases that were registered on the Chinese mainland, the statement said ….

This has been the third time this year that the police on the mainland and Taiwan had jointly destroyed such a large fraud group, the statement said.

Although still hampered by bureaucracy and political obstacles, such cooperation has improved in the wake of the 2009 Cross-Strait Agreement on Joint Crime-Fighting and Judicial Mutual Assistance.

Taipei now hopes to persuade Beijing to hand the suspects over for trial on Taiwan. This would not be unprecedented: a fugitive Taiwanese judge was transferred from the mainland last November.

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