Taipei, April 11 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) will summon the Philippines' top envoy to Taiwan on Friday to protest the Philippines' deportation of 78 Taiwanese fraud suspects to China on April 4, a MOFA spokesman told CNA on Wednesday.
The ministry has scheduled a meeting with the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) Chairman and Resident Representative Angelito Banayo on Friday morning at MOFA headquarters to express the country's grave concern and lodge a strong protest over the decision, spokesman Andrew Lee (???) said.
The ministry did not summon Banayo earlier because the incident happened during the just concluded Tomb-Sweeping Day vacation, and he was not in Taiwan during that time, Lee said.
The ministry has not decided who will meet Banayo on Friday, Lee said.
MECO represents the Philippines interests in Taiwan in the absence of official diplomatic ties.
The 78 Taiwanese fraud suspects were among 158 individuals arrested in the Philippines on Jan. 13 for their alleged involvement in fraudulent telecom activities.
MECO previously explained that the decision was made after the case was cracked through the joint efforts of the Philippines Department of Justice and Chinese police authorities.
It was also consistent with the Interpol Red Alert issued in relation to the suspects, according to the MECO statement.
The suspects will face trial in China because all the victims reside in China and all the evidence was collected there, the statement argued.
Indonesia, Kenya, Spain, Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia have also "ensured the prosecution of apprehended suspects by turning them over to Chinese authorities" in past cases, MECO argued in defending the move, referring to Taiwanese suspects.
"This is a law enforcement issue, and the Philippines will not allow itself to be a weak link in the fight against cybercrimes. We, cannot, and should not be a staging ground utilized by foreigners for such fraudulent and criminal schemes which victimize so many around the world," Banayo was quoted as saying in the statement.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel