Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council expressed a “solemn protest” on Tuesday at Cambodia’s deportation of 13 Taiwanese suspects to mainland China.

According to China’s Ministry of Public Security Criminal Investigation Bureau, 63 of the suspects – 50 Chinese and the 13 Taiwanese – were escorted by Chinese Public Security forces to China on a flight to Jiangsu province.

Photo: Weibo/Ministry of Public Security Criminal Investigation Bureau.

The suspects were arrested on August 30 in Cambodia in connection with a telecommunications fraud case. They are suspected of falsely presenting themselves as law enforcement officials to extort money from mainland Chinese people by phone, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency.

The Taiwanese government’s Mainland Affairs Council issued a press release Tuesday night protesting the deportation, reported Taiwan’s Central News Agency.

Photo: Weibo/Ministry of Public Security Criminal Investigation Bureau.

The Council said it has previously used communication channels between the two sides to ensure that the 13 nationals are returned to Taiwan, and request that they not be forcibly transported to mainland China.

It said that the actions of the Chinese government have not only damaged the foundation of trust and cooperation between the two countries, but have also disregarded Taiwan’s appeals, seriously wounding the feelings of the Taiwanese people.

Photo: Weibo/Ministry of Public Security Criminal Investigation Bureau.

Owing to the victims being mainland Chinese people and the crime being committed by a group, the Chinese authorities brought all suspects to the mainland to facilitate investigation and protect victims’ interests, reported the The Paper, a state-funded publication. The Chinese authorities have used the appropriate channels to notify Taiwan of the situation, according to the website.

The Ministry of Public Security has started cooperation with Kenya, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, and Indonesia to capture 1,168 suspects, of which 347 were Taiwanese residents, reported The Paper.

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Catherine Lai

Catherine is a Canadian journalist and photographer who lived in Beijing for almost two years, working in TV and online media. Aside from Hong Kong and mainland affairs, she is also interested in urban spaces, art and feminism. She holds a BA in Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia.