TAIPEI, Taiwan – Taiwan's foreign ministry has protested Spain's decision to deport more than 200 Taiwanese telecom fraud suspects to China, in the latest instance of a government moving to deport citizens of the self-governing island to its rival.
Scores of Taiwanese have been arrested around the world in the past year in connection with vast telecoms fraud scams targeting Chinese nationals. Countries including Malaysia, Cambodia and Kenya have deported Taiwanese suspects to China, in deference to Beijing which views Taiwan as its own territory without sovereign legal status and has long tried to diplomatically isolate it.
The Taiwanese ministry said in a statement Sunday that it "deeply regrets" a decision by the Spanish government to agree to a request by Beijing to extradite 269 Taiwanese and Chinese nationals arrested in December in Spain.
Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Office said in a separate statement that it had lodged a protest with Beijing over its request that more than 200 Taiwanese nationals be deported to the mainland.
Chinese authorities say they are authorized to try the cases because their citizens are the primary victims and have been swindled out of millions of dollars.