Taiwan protests deportation of 37 nationals to China

Beijing, April 12 (IANS) Taiwan’s foreign ministry on Tuesday protested against Kenya deporting 37 Taiwanese citizens to China.

It was the second such incident in less than a week after Nairobi dispatched eight Taiwanese nationals to China on April 8, despite a protest by the island nation, EFE news agency reported.

Both groups had been linked to a Chinese-operated telecommunications fraud ring in Nairobi, although they were all acquitted on April 5 and ordered to leave the country within three weeks, according to the ministry.

Taiwan, which does not have diplomatic ties with Kenya, said its diplomat in South Africa flew to Nairobi to try and block the first deportation but failed after Beijing put pressure on the East African country to send the Taiwanese to China.

Chen Chun-shen, director-general of the foreign ministry’s Department of West Asian and African Affairs, said the second group of suspects were brought from a detention centre in the capital by Kenyan police to Nairobi Airport on Monday night.

As they were protesting the deportation of the first group of Taiwanese nationals, the ministry was not aware of the second group being readied for deportation until 3.00 a.m. on Tuesday, when one of the detainees called his mother from the detention centre pleading for help.

The detainee’s mother alerted the ministry, but they were unable to prevent the departure of the plane from Nairobi.

There are five more Taiwan suspects in Nairobi awaiting a court ruling on June 6.

Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou on Monday expressed grave concern over the eight Taiwan nationals’ deportation to China, calling it a “distortion of justice” and demanding their immediate release by Beijing authorities.

This is the latest case of Taiwanese ‘criminals’ being deported to China from a third country.

In 2011, the Philippines cracked a large telecom fraud ring which included 14 Taiwanese and 10 Chinese. Manila deported all of them to China, despite Taipei’s protests.

After lengthy negotiations between the Taiwanese and Chinese legal authorities, Beijing finally deported the 14 Taiwanese to stand trial in Taipei.

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