Spanish judges 'disgusted' with suspects' claim 'I'm Taiwanese, not Chinese': GT

Spanish judges send 218 telecom suspects to China despite Taiwanese citizenship

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Telecom suspect being escorted to plane (center). (Screenshot from Btime.com)

Telecom suspect being escorted to plane (center). (Screenshot from Btime.com)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- As over 200 Taiwan telecom fraud suspects were extradited to China, a Chinese police officer claims that Spanish judges were "disgusted" by the alleged fraudsters' claims that they have "Taiwan passports" and are "not Chinese."

According to the state-run tabloid Global Times (GT), Spanish police began cooperating with Chinese police in a program to combat transnational telecom fraud called "Operation Great Wall" in 2016. On June 7, 94 suspected Taiwanese fraudsters were extradited to Beijing from Spain, making the total number of suspects extradited since the program began to reach 225, including 218 Taiwanese.

The report alleges that this first time that China has extradited a large number of telecom fraud suspects from Europe. China's Vice Director of the Criminal Investigation Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security, Zhang Jun (張軍), said that because of a crackdown, cross-border telecom fraud rings fled to Southeast Asia and later to Europe

Zhang said that after they caught the Taiwanese telecom fraud suspects in Spain, they immediately entered the extradition process. However, the trials were delayed for several years as the suspects exhausted all the rights they could exercise in Spain. "After the first and second instances, they could appeal to the Constitutional Court, followed by the European Court of Human Rights, apply for political asylum, and other means," said Zhang.

He said the longest trial for a suspect lasted three months. Zhang complained that each of the cases involving over 200 suspects was heard one at a time, as is the standard practice in Western democracies where people have the right to due process, unlike Communist China.

Zhang said that many Taiwanese suspects would say to the judges, "I hold a Taiwanese passport, I am not Chinese" and argued that "If I am sent to China, I will be treated unfairly. Therefore, I must not be extradited to China." He said, "everyone said these two sentences, but it was useless."

This time, the Spanish judges were very resolute, "He [judge] was very disgusted with Taiwan's ploy. I am going to extradite you to China." Zhang then praised this experience as exemplifying cooperation between the two countries.

According to UDN, as of February 2019, 434 Taiwanese have been extradited to China in connection with transnational telecommunications fraud cases. Now, with the latest wave of extraditions, that number has exceeded 500.

In fact, Taiwan is a sovereign, independent nation with its own constitution, currency, army, free press, judiciary, and democratically elected government. Therefore, its citizens should be treated appropriately as such.

While the citizens of Hong Kong protest Beijing's implementation of an extradition law that would allow suspects in the territory to be extradited to China, no such law or treaty exists allowing for the extradition of Taiwanese suspects to China. Nevertheless, numerous countries are constantly kowtowing to Beijing's demands for these illegal extraditions.