China mum on Taiwan's bid to return defrauded NT$200 million

2017/04/20 23:13:15 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
China mum on Taiwan's bid to return defrauded NT$200 million

Taipei, April 20 (CNA) Taiwan has once again asked mainland China to provide information so that it can return more than NT$200 million (US$6.58 million) in funds defrauded from Chinese victims and seized in Taiwan. The Chinese authorities have yet to respond.

Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正), deputy head of the Mainland Affairs Council and its spokesman, on Thursday called for Beijing to provide the relevant information so it can return the ill gotten gains.

Chiu said China has yet to respond but indicated the Ministry of Justice will continue its efforts to establish contact.

The ministry said a day earlier that Taiwan High Prosecutors Office recently asked local prosecutors' offices to list all cases involving the defrauding of Chinese victims and the amount seized was determined to be more than NT$200 million.

Under an agreement signed in 2009 between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait -- the Cross-Strait Joint Crime-Fighting and Judicial Mutual Assistance Agreement (海峽兩岸共同打擊犯罪及司法互助協議) -- the ministry asked for judicial assistance from China.

Tsai Chiu-ming (蔡秋明), head of the ministry's Department of International and Cross-Strait Legal Affairs, called for the two sides to hold talks as soon as possible to devise a "method to return the illicit money."

Tsai said that in the past Taiwan could not remit money directly to an individual's bank account, it had to send it to an account provided by China's Ministry of Public Security which would then transfer the funds to the victims.

Chiu also called for China to sit down to work out a model to return such funds as there are different legal ways to return money in Taiwan and China.

Since April 2014, when Taiwan first returned money defrauded from Chinese victims, it has returned a total of NT$18.17 million, Tsai said.

The failure of the Chinese side to respond is being seen as another sign of the chill in cross-strait relations, which have deteriorated since President Tsai Ing-wen ( 蔡英文) took office in May 2016, mainly due to her refusal to heed Beijing's calls to recognize the "1992 consensus" as the sole political foundation for cross-strait exchanges.

The "1992 consensus" refers to a tacit understanding reached in 1992 between China and Taiwan, which was then under a KMT government, that there is only one China, with both sides free to interpret what that means.

(By Miao Tsung-han, Liu Shih-yi and Lilian Wu)
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