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Taiwan welcomes Beijing's invitation over telecom fraud cases

ROC Central News Agency

2016/05/01 16:31:14

Taipei, May 1 (CNA) The Cabinet expressed welcome Sunday for China's invitation of a delegation to the mainland for talks concerning Taiwanese nationals detained there, after 32 Taiwanese fraud suspects were deported from Malaysia to China the previous day.

Cabinet spokesman Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群) said that the Chinese side has formally invited Taiwan to send a delegation to the mainland for the talks on the Taiwanese deported from Malaysia, as well as 45 deported from Kenya in early April, for their alleged involvement in telecommunications fraud targeting people in China.

Taiwan regards the invitation, which meets a cross-Taiwan Strait agreement on the joint fight against crime and mutual legal assistance, in a positive light, Sun said.

The government expressed strong protest a day earlier after the Malaysian authorities deported the 32 Taiwanese fraud suspects to China. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the move has seriously damaged relations between Taiwan and Malaysia, and it has lodged a formal protest with the Malaysian government.

The incident came in the wake of the deportation of 45 Taiwanese fraud suspects from Kenya to China last month.

In response, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) said Sunday that it will ask the district prosecutors' offices in Taichung and Taoyuan -- which are responsible for the cases -- to jointly outline an investigation plan and send officers to join the delegation, which will be jointly organized by the MOJ, the Mainland Affairs Council and the Criminal Investigation Bureau.

It has contacted the Chinese authorities on the date and itinerary of the proposed visit, the MOJ said, noting that the group is expected to depart in about a week.

The 32 Taiwanese deported from Malaysia to China Saturday are being held at two detention centers in Guangzhou Province, according to the MOJ.

They were among a group of 52 Taiwanese who were arrested in Malaysia March 25 for telecom fraud against people in China.

The 20 others were brought back to Taiwan April 15, 18 of whom have been placed in detention, while the other two have been barred from leaving the country pending their possible indictments and trials.

Asked by reporters about the deportations, Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) suggested Sunday that the relevant authorities handle the issue in two ways simultaneously -- imposing the necessary punishments on those convicted of fraud on the one hand, and upholding the human rights of Taiwanese nationals on the other.

Wu said that the judicial system should impose proper penalties for fraud, and should not free "the cross-border fraudsters who shame the Taiwanese people."

For the Taiwanese suspects detained in China, "we should urge the mainland to send them back (to Taiwan) for trial based on the cross-strait Joint Fight Against Crime and Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement," he said.

(By Paige Tsai, Kuan Ruei-ping and Elizabeth Hsu)
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