Taiwan summons Philippines envoy to protest against handover of suspects to China

Manila transferred 78 Taiwanese citizens to China on April 4

Fraud suspects being held by police in the Philippines last February.

Fraud suspects being held by police in the Philippines last February. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Friday called in Philippines envoy Angelito Tan Banayo to protest against the handover of 78 Taiwanese fraud suspects to China instead of to Taiwan, the Central News Agency reported.

The transfer, which occurred on April 4, is the latest in a long line of similar incidents, where governments who have official relations with Beijing but not with Taipei hand over Taiwanese suspects of telecom fraud to China. Beijing claims it has to handle the cases because most of the victims live in China.

The Philippines representative in Taipei visited MOFA on Friday morning, where he heard “a strong protest and deep regret” about the decision which was reached without any discussion between Manila and Taipei, MOFA said.

The two countries needed to discuss bilateral judicial and criminal affairs according to a judicial cooperation agreement and a Memorandum of Understanding about the fight against transnational crime, MOFA was quoted by CNA as saying.

Tan Banayo told CNA that he felt “regret” about the incident, and that both sides would find a way that such incident would not be repeated in the future, so as to avoid damaging the positive relations between the two.

He added that he welcomed Taiwan’s intention to continue and deepen economic and people-to-people relations with the Philippines.