About 2,400 Taiwanese citizens have been arrested overseas for alleged involvement in telecom fraud-related crimes since 2011, Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice said Friday, refuting media reports that up to 4,500 such suspects have been apprehended in recent years.
The ministry said in a statement that of the total, about 2,000 Taiwanese fraud suspects have been deported back to Taiwan from China and other foreign countries since 2011.
But starting this year, China began pressuring other countries to deport Taiwanese fraud suspects to the mainland, instead of allowing them to be returned to Taiwan.
So far this year, 219 Taiwanese suspects have been sent to China, after they were caught in a third country for alleged involvement in telecom fraud, the ministry said. They were deported to China after Beijing pressured the foreign countries to do so, claiming that the main victims were Chinese nationals and therefore the suspects should face trials in mainland China.
Meanwhile, around 150 Taiwanese fraud suspects are detained in other countries, the ministry said.
The ministry’s statement came in response to local reports citing Spanish media as saying that Chinese authorities have taken part in 47 raids around the world this year and arrested 7,700 fraud suspects, 4,500 of whom are from Taiwan.
In the latest case, at least 39 Taiwanese citizens have been arrested for their alleged involvement in telecom fraud in Spain, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Thursday.
In recent years, there have been a number of cases in which Taiwanese citizens have been arrested on charges of fraud in Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines, as well as Kenya and Turkey.
The Justice Ministry said that it has formed a cross-agency platform in a concerted effort to combat cross-border fraud operations.
Taiwan’s government has strongly criticized the Chinese government for taking Taiwanese fraud suspects, but it has so far been unable to convince Beijing to repatriate them.
Relations between China and Taiwan have been strained after Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) came into office in May. She has refused to heed Beijing’s calls to accept the “1992 consensus” as the political foundation for the development of cross-strait exchanges.
The “1992 consensus” refers to a tacit understanding reached in 1992 between China and Taiwan, which was then under a Kuomintang (KMT) government, that there is only one China, with both sides free to interpret what that means.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel