Taiwan protests Spain sending 94 telecoms suspects to China
TAIPEI, (CNA).- Taiwan on Friday expressed deep regret over the deportation of 94 Taiwanese telecoms suspects to China by Spain, urging Madrid to halt a practice that has seen 218 Taiwan nationals deported to China.
"The Spanish government insisted on sending Taiwanese suspects to China, ignoring a statement issued by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in May 2018, which called on Spain to immediately halt such deeds," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said.
"We urged Spain to cooperate with Taiwan to crack down on cross-border criminal activities and deal with such cases in line with the principle of human rights," MOFA said, reiterating its stance.
MOFA said it also asked at a bilateral meeting in May with the European Union (EU) that the EU protect and ensure the safety and human rights of Taiwanese detainees who might face deportation by the International Criminal Police Organization to China as a result of pressure from Beijing.
MOFA issued the statement following news that 94 suspects from Taiwan, detained in Spain in 2016 for telecoms fraud as members of a large fraud ring, were turned over to Chinese authorities upon arrival in Beijing earlier Friday.
This was the third deportation Spain has conducted at the request of China since December 2016, with a total of 237 telecoms suspects arrested in the country by Chinese and Spanish law enforcement agents for their involvement in more than 800 fraudulent schemes that reportedly swindled people living in China out of 120 billion yuan (US$17.3 billion).
Since January 2017, Spain had already approved the deportation of 225 detainees to China, with 131 (seven from China and 124 from Taiwan) already sent back to China.
In May last year, MOFA issued a stern protest against Spain's deportation to China of two Taiwanese suspects, based on the principle of nationality.
To date, a total of 218 Taiwanese suspected members of the fraud ring have already been deported to China, while those remaining are waiting deportation pending Spain's approval.
According to Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), a total of 650 foreign-based Taiwanese telecoms fraud suspects have been deported to China since 2016, while 694 have been sent back to Taiwan.
MAC also urged China not to turn a deaf ear to Taiwan's appeal for cooperation to eliminate such crimes, as to do so would harm the interests of people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.
(By Flor Wang)