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Taiwan strongly protests China's 'abduction' of its nationals

ROC Central News Agency

2016/04/12 11:28:07

Taipei, April 12 (CNA) The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) lodged a strong protest against China late Monday over its "abduction" of Taiwan nationals in connection with a phone fraud case in Kenya.

The MAC said the eight nationals should be under Taiwan's jurisdiction and demanded that the Taiwan Affairs Office under China's State Council coordinate with related agencies to release the eight as soon as possible.

"The mainland's move has encroached on our jurisdiction and is in total disregard of the fact that both sides have signed a judicial mutual assistance agreement under the premise of not denying the respective right of rule over the past eight years," the MAC said.

The MAC said in the statement that the eight are currently being detained in Beijing, but it did not say when they might be returned to Taiwan.

The agency accused China of ignoring a tacit agreement reached by the two sides in 2011 on handling similar cases, especially considering that the eight had already been acquitted by a Kenyan court.

The case has seriously infringed on the rights of Taiwan nationals and hurt the feelings of Taiwanese people, the MAC said, stressing that China will be fully responsible for the serious consequences the move will have on bilateral relations.

The MAC also said it was by no means acceptable that China's Foreign Ministry commended other countries' insistence on the "one-China policy."

The eight people were among 28 Taiwanese accused of being members of a fraud ring that was busted in Kenya toward the end of 2014 for defrauding people concentrated in Beijing and Zhejiang province in China.

A total of 76 Chinese and Taiwanese were arrested for illegal entry and allegedly involvement in telecommunications fraud.

Of the 76, 23 Taiwanese and 14 Chinese were acquitted of phone fraud charges on April 5 and were ordered to leave the country within three weeks.

But when they went to a local police station later that day to retrieve their passports, which had been seized earlier, they were detained without any official reason being given.

Beijing pressured Kenya to turn over eight of the 23 Taiwan nationals detained, claiming that they were implicated in similar fraud cases in China.

Kenya's government acquiesced to Beijing's demand and put the eight people on a China Southern Airlines flight to China on April 8, despite a court order stipulating that they be handed back to Kenyan police authorities pending a further hearing.

Taiwan's Ministry of Justice said, meanwhile, that it received a call from China late Monday that the eight are being detained in Beijing and under investigation for their previous involvement in fraud on the mainland.

Taiwan is concerned about the rights of the eight and intends to send officials to the mainland to learn about the situation and the handling of the matter, the Justice Ministry said.

(By Kao Chao-fen, Page Tsai and Lilian Wu)

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