Taiwan, China in tug of war over fraud suspects in Thailand

2017/07/22 18:40:08 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Taiwan, China in tug of war over fraud suspects in Thailand

Taipei, July 22 (CNA) Taiwan and China have again engaged in a tug of war over Taiwanese nationals arrested overseas, with the latest incident involving 25 Taiwanese detained in Thailand on suspicion of telecom fraud.

Earlier this week, law enforcement authorities from Thailand and China carried out a joint operation against telecom fraud, arresting 44 suspects in Chonburi and Samut Prakan provinces in Thailand.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Thailand has confirmed that 25 of the 44 suspects are Taiwanese nationals and they are currently being held at an immigration shelter in the Southeast Asian country, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Saturday.

Beijing has asked Thailand to send the Taiwanese suspects to China for prosecution there, according to sources that asked not to be named. The majority of victims of such telecom fraud are usually Chinese nationals.

However, Taiwan's foreign ministry said it will ask the Thai government not to send the Taiwanese suspects to China against their will but instead to deport them to Taiwan to face justice.

If Thailand sends the 25 Taiwanese suspects to China, it will be the first such decision by that country since it signed an agreement with Taiwan in 2013 to jointly combat cross-border economic crime and other offenses.

The latest tug of war developed just a few days after reports of Cambodia's intention to send seven Taiwanese telecom fraud suspects to China following their arrest during a raid Monday in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.

(By Scarlett Chai, Liu Te-chang and Christie Chen)
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