“Sir! We are Taiwan
people!” one shouts.
The police later used tear gas to force the prisoners out of their cell and onto a plane to China, Taiwan
Foreign Ministry official Antonio Chen told reporters Tuesday.
Taiwan has denounced the “extrajudicial abduction” of its citizens as a “gross violation of basic human rights” and accused Kenyan and Chinese officials of ignoring a local High Court’s injunction against the deportations.
The abduction was occasioned after a long overdue affair in Kenya involving both Chinese and Taiwanese workers in the country who were accused of running a complex phone and internet scamming operation.
A Kenyan released the Taiwanese after which they were court acquitted acquitted of all charges, But their freedom was short lived, according to Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry, which said in a statement that the workers were detained by police when they attempted to retrieve their passports on April 5.
Dozens of those detained were then “forcefully taken to a passenger plane
of China Southern Airlines and sent to the mainland,” the Ministry said.
The incident is the latest flare up between Taiwan — officially the Republic of China — and the Beijing-ruled People’s Republic of China.
Relations have been strained in recent months following the landslide election of Tsai Ying-wen as Taiwan’s next president.
According to a statement from China’s Ministry of Public Security, Kenya is in the process of deporting 32 Chinese and 45 Taiwanese workers, all of whom it is sending to mainland China.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman An Fengshan suggested they would face further prosecution in China, despite being acquitted in Kenya. An also defended China’s right to charge the alleged fraudsters.
“As these criminals carried out their illegal activities abroad, and all the victims are residents of the mainland, the mainland naturally has legal jurisdiction.”
He added that the incident would be “beneficial to the peaceful development of cross-strait relations.”