Taipei, April 12 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has directed relevant government agencies to contact China and send Taiwanese representatives there to express Taiwan's stern stance over the sending to China of Taiwanese nationals in connection with phone fraud in Kenya and to handle the issue, a Presidential Office spokesman said Tuesday.
To date, the Kenyan authorities have handed over to China a total of 45 Taiwanese nationals who allegedly were members of various Kenya-based telecommucations fraud rings targeting Chinese victims.
The first incident occurred April 8, when eight Taiwanese were put on a flight to China, three days after they were acquitted by a Kenyan court for illegal telecom operations and organized crime.
On Tuesday, Kenyan police brandished submachine guns and tear gas to force another 37 Taiwanese to board a plane bound for China. They included 22 who were arrested April 8 and 15 others who were also acquitted April 5.
The case puts Taiwan's government in a tough spot. Taiwan has no diplomatic ties with Kenya, which recognizes the government in Beijing, and Taiwan is relying on a diplomat from its liaison office in South Africa to try to help the detainees return home.
Ma has directed the Justice Ministry and the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) to send representatives to China to look into the situation, and asked the ministry to elucidate to the public in Taiwan the legal procedures and background information of the case, after consulting with Premier Simon Chang (張善政).
In related developments, an MAC official said it has requested discussion on the matter with China's Taiwan Affairs Office via a hotline between the two agencies.
(By Claudia Liu, Kao Chao-fen and Evelyn Kao)