Malaysia Deports Alleged Taiwanese Telephone Scammers to China; Taiwan Protests
Malaysia deported 74 suspects, including 21 Taiwanese suspects, to China on Tuesday in connection with the multi-billion dollar telecom fraud scam. This is the latest development in deportation saga that has had considerable impact on cross-strait relation.
All the suspects landed at central city of Wuhan on Tuesday evening through a charter plane that was also boarded by Chinese and Malaysian police, state media news agency Xinhua reported.
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Apart from the 21 Taiwanese suspects, all other suspects are Chinese.
Taiwan's Foreign Ministry immediately lodged protest following the deportation, claiming that the latest development will further dent cross-strait relations.
"This action by Malaysia has seriously harmed the rights of our citizens, and harms the long standing friendship between Taiwan and Malaysia," it said.
The statement further claimed that Taiwanese police were in touch with the Malaysian government to arrange for the extradition, but its efforts were stalled because of interference and pressure applied by China.
Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, which formulates foreign policy for China, also expressed displeasure by saying that Beijing authoritarian actions "damage the tacit understanding and foundation for cooperation between security agencies."
Malaysia so far has not released any statement in the latest deportation saga.
Kenya, Indonesia, and Colombia are other countries to deport hordes of suspects to China in connection with the telecom fraud scam.
Taiwan reportedly also pressured Kenya and Colombia for extradition of its citizens. But lack of diplomatic relations with these two nationals supposedly sabotaged its efforts. Taiwan is officially recognized by only 22 countries, most of which are poor and small nations located in African and Latin American continents.
China Busted Telecom Fraud Scam Last Year
China busted the multi-billion dollar scam last year with the help of several countries. Chinese government alleged that all the deported suspects were part of telephone ring racket that extorted money from people living in China.
The investigation claims that they extorted nearly 60 million Yuan ($8.7 million) from Chinese citizens.