TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – As earlier reports led to believe, Thailand on Sunday announced it was sending 25 Taiwanese phone fraud suspects to China, and not to Taiwan, as should have been the case.
It was reportedly the first time since the two countries concluded a bilateral judicial cooperation agreement concluded in 2013 that Thailand made a decision running counter to it, reports said. Pressure from China has widely been blamed for Thailand’s change of heart.
The Taiwanese office in Bangkok said it hoped it could still turn the tide, as the deportation to China was reportedly not imminent.
The Thai decision was announced at a news conference Sunday by Police Lieutenant Colonel Nathathorn Prousoontorn, the chief of the country’s Immigration Bureau. About 20 Chinese officials were present at the event, reports said.
The information which led to the capture of 44 suspects, including the 25 Taiwanese, had come from China’s Public Security Bureau, according to Nathathorn. The group had been active in Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar, but had been primarily active in embezzling money from citizens of China.
Over the past year, several countries ranging from Kenya to Turkey, detained members of fraud rings targeting Chinese residents. In several cases, even Taiwanese suspects were deported to China, despite Taiwan’s insistence it held jurisdiction over its citizens.