Jakarta, April 22 (CNA) The Indonesian authorities arrested 40 foreign nationals last week for involvement in telecom fraud in Kota Semarang, the capital city of Central Java province, among them 12 Taiwan nationals, the Taipei Economic and Trade Office (TETO) in Jakarta said Monday.
The de facto embassy of Taiwan in Indonesia said that 11 of the 40 suspects are Taiwan passport holders; another is believed to be a Taiwanese although he has been unable to produce a Taiwan passport.
The rest are Chinese citizens, the office said.
TETO was notified of the arrests, made on April 18, by Indonesia's Directorate General of Immigration Saturday and Taiwan Representative to Indonesia John C. Chen (陳忠) sent officials to Semarang the next day to verify the identities of those arrested.
The Indonesian immigration office presented the suspects and devices found during the raid, including computers and cellphones, to the local media Monday.
The 12 Taiwanese nationals are currently being detained at the immigration office in Semarang, TETO officials told CNA, adding that they are all in good condition.
The fraud ring reportedly called their intended victims in China posing as police officers, prosecutors, judges or government officials from anti-money laundering agencies, directing them to transfer their money to a "safe account."
TETO is now negotiating with the Indonesian authorities for the Taiwan nationals to be repatriated to Taiwan rather than being deported to China.
Over the past few years, jurisdiction over Taiwanese suspects has become a tug-of-war between Taiwan and China, creating a headache for host countries.
In the case of Indonesia, some Taiwanese suspects have been deported to China and some to Taiwan, according to TETO.
In July, 2017, Indonesian police apprehended 143 telecom fraud suspects from across the Taiwan Strait in coordination with China, including 22 Taiwanese. A total of 18 of were later turned over to Beijing.
One month later, TETO officials rushed to the police station when the Indonesian government was about to deport the remaining four Taiwan nationals to China.
They successfully argued that those individuals should be sent back to Taipei under the principle of nationality.