By Jeffrey Tsai and Yuan-ling Liang
On April 12, the MOFA stated that the remaining 15 Taiwanese have also been sent to China.
An online video showed the Taiwanese fighting back but failing. After a few minutes of resisting, the victims were all brought to the plane and deported to China.
An undated letter written by the 23 Taiwanese who were arrested and later released in Kenya was also shown in a NEXT TV exclusive last night. It detailed their experience in Kenya leading up to some of the Taiwanese being sent to China instead of Taiwan.
The letter also described their fears if they would be sent over to China instead of Taiwan. They expressed their sincere wish to be safely back in Taiwan and to have government assistance throughout their journey back home.
Translated and compiled by Bing-sheng Lee
Eight Taiwanese people who were involved in a telecom fraud case but pronounced innocent in Kenya were repatriated to China instead of Taiwan. The Chinese government reportedly forced the repatriation.
On the morning of April 11, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) made a strong protest against the repatriation. MOFA says the Chinese government’s action breaches basic human rights and that it has already asked China to send the eight Taiwanese back to Taiwan immediately.
In November 2014, the Kenya police uncovered a telecom fraud case while investigating a fire accident in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital. 23 out of the 77 suspects of Chinese ancestry who were involved in the fraud case are Taiwanese. The suspects were charged with fraud, unauthorized radio operation and illegal entry.
On April 5, the Kenya court pronounced 37 suspects, including the 23 Taiwanese, not guilty and released them immediately. They were required to leave Kenya in 21 days.
Yet, when the suspects went back to the local police station to retrieve their passports, the passports were still in custody of the Kenya police and the suspects were not allowed to take them back.
Upon learning about the situation, MOFA assigned its delegate stationed in South Africa to negotiate with the Kenya police and request them to release the suspects according to the court’s order. The delegate also asked the Kenya police not to deport the Taiwanese people to China.
On April 7, Taiwan’s representative in South Africa flew to Kenya and went to the police station to visit the 23 Taiwanese who were held in detention. However, the next day, the representative found out that the Chinese government was pressing the Kenya police to send eight out of the 23 Taiwanese to China.
Despite all the efforts made by the Taipei Liaison Office in the Republic of South Africa and the lawyers of the suspects, Chinese government officials still managed to forcefully take eight Taiwanese people back to China with them.
MOFA says that the Chinese officials’ forcible repatriation of eight innocent Taiwanese people to China was an uncivilized act that violates the deportees’ basic human rights. MOFA issued serious protest demanding the Chinese government to send the Taiwanese back to Taiwan.
MOFA is also asking for the immediate release of the remaining 15 Taiwanese who are still held in custody.
Taiwan does not have an official office in Kenya, so the liaison office in the Republic of South Africa has been working to address the issue and make sure the rest of the Taiwanese held in detention will be sent back to Taiwan.
MOFA says it will report the situation to Mainland Affairs Council, Ministry of Justice, and Criminal Investigation Bureau and ask them to negotiate with the Chinese counterparts.
The ministry and other government organizations want to make sure that in the future, both Taiwan and China would handle related legal cases according to the associated mutual agreement on repatriating citizens in foreign countries.
Edited by Olivia Yang