TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Spanish government handed over two Taiwanese nationals accused of telecoms fraud to China on Feb. 15, confirmed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Sunday.
This is the second case in which Taiwanese suspects were deported to China by a third country this month, following seven Taiwanese people who had earlier been detained by the Philippines government.
As many as 219 Taiwanese citizens were arrested in Spain for engaging in telephone scams targeting Chinese people at the end of 2016. Among them, three were already deported to China last year, reported United Daily News.
The Spanish court is said to have ruled that all the Taiwanese suspects will be handed over to the Chinese authorities for prosecution.
The ministry on Sunday protested against Spain’s deportation of two Taiwanese citizens, citing that China's human rights record was a cause for concern. The Taiwan government urged the Spanish authorities to collaborate with Taiwan on similar cases based on humanitarian and human rights principles.
Lacking diplomatic ties and mutual legal assistance deals over judicial matters with most of the nations around the world, many Taiwanese people accused of telephone fraud have been deported to China over the years at the request of Beijing.
The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), the top government agency handling cross-strait affairs, said earlier this month that more than 400 Taiwanese nationals had been handed over to China by Kenya, Malaysia, Cambodia, Armenia, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Spain since 2016.
There were also nearly 600 Taiwanese people in connection with cross-national telephone fraud deported back to Taiwan for further investigation and trials in the meantime, according to the data provided by MAC last year.
MAC said last week the government has continued to work with law enforcement authorities from other countries on cracking down telephone scams committed by Taiwanese people, and has so far introduced harsher punishments against such criminal acts.