TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s foreign ministry said it does not know if reports that its citizens have been transferred into Chinese custody by Burmese authorities are true on Thursday (Nov. 16).
The government of Myanmar’s de-facto independent Wa State said that six Taiwanese involved in telecoms fraud were handed over to China on Wednesday, per CNA. Taiwan’s foreign ministry said it is difficult to determine if the reports are true, and it is working with government departments to verify the information and help any Taiwanese if needed.
The six Taiwanese were handed over to China along with 277 Chinese citizens who were also involved in telecom scams, the Wa State government said. Taiwan foreign ministry spokesperson Jeff Liu (劉永健) said the country’s representative office in Myanmar helps Taiwanese who have been caught up in ongoing military activities in the country.
Liu said the Wa State is one of the few democratic autonomous regions in Myanmar, and it is not under the control of the country’s central government. He said the state has close relations with China.
A Nov. 8 article published by the U.S. Institute of Peace said that China’s efforts to crack down on transnational crime targeted Wa State due to it being “well within China’s sphere of influence.” In addition to bordering China’s Yunnan Province, many in Wa State use Chinese currency, utilities, and some hold Chinese national ID cards, the article reported.