China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
April 14, 2016
Executive Summary: The Mainland will continue to exert pressure on the DPP up until May 20. Had the Kenyan case erupted when cross-Strait relations were better, communication would be much easier. But the manner in which the DPP is addressing the Mainland is likely to set back cross-Strait relations following May 20. Many problems beset the two sides. Most of them will affect the welfare of people on Taiwan. Tsai Ing-wen must be more rational than ever, and view global affairs from a more elevated perspective.
Full Text Below:
Some 45 Taiwanese have been extradited to Mainland China by the Kenyan government for telecommunications fraud. The event has caused an uproar. Both the ruling and opposition parties have condemned Kenya and Beijing. They have accused it of failing to inform us in advance, thereby undermining our sovereignty. But the case involves matters of international jurisdiction. The two sides of the Strait have legal assistance agreements. The issue has a bearing on Taiwan's international image. The matter must be dealt with rationally, and not swayed by personal feelings. The matter of sovereignty must not be exaggerated. It must not be deliberately politicized. Groundless accusations must not leveled against the Mainland. The two sides of the Strait must consult with each other, on the basis of mutual trust. They must follow past precedent, and bring the matter to a satisfactory resolution.
Mainland China is cooperating with Kenya to combat crime. Together they have arrested members of a multinational telecommunications crime syndicate. Kenyan courts have ascertained that none of the crime victims are in Kenya. According to Kenyan criminal law, it has no case against the perpetrators. Mainland China has offered in evidence Mainland victims, and requested extradition of crime syndicate members to the Mainland for trial. Kenya, which recognizes the Mainland and adheres to the "one China" principle, has agreed to repatriation. Taiwanese members of the crime syndicate knew the penalties for fraud differed greatly between one side of the Strait and the other. Therefore they refused repatriation to the Mainland and resisted violently. Kenyan police resorted to force, adding to public anger on Taiwan.
The Mainland should not have repatriated the criminals without prior notification. The Ma government lodged an immediate protest and ordered the MAC to remain in communication. President elect Tsai Ing-wen appealed to the Mainland via Facebook. She demanded that Beijing immediately consult with Taipei and release the detainees. The KMT and the DPP each held press conferences expressing concern. They demonstrated non-partisanship in the upholding of human rights and the dignity of our government.
But one cannot ignore the importance of international cooperation in criminal prosecutions. We must not level groundless accusations against Kenya and the Mainland. The law is the law. The Ministry of Justice has explained. The Mainland demanded that the suspect be tried on the Mainland in accordance with the rules of international cooperation in criminal prosecutions. Kenya extradited the perpetrators to the Mainland, based on legal jurisdiction and legal priority. Kenya agreed to the transfer to Mainland China. That is political reality. All Taiwan can do is ask the Mainland to negotiate. It is in no position to level groundless accusations.
Taiwan's criminal code does not classify fraud committed overseas as a felony, or any other specially defined crime. As a result, its criminal justice system lacks jurisdiction over the case. Even if the perpetrators were returned to Taiwan for trial, lenient sentencing would leave the criminals nothing to fear. In 2011, the Philippines uncovered transnational fraud. The Philippines extradited 14 Taiwanese to the Mainland, Taiwan lodged strong protests. The Mainland invited prosecutors from Taiwan to travel to the Mainland and prosecute the case jointly. Instead, the defendant and the case was eventually moved to Taiwan. The perpetrators' sentences were commuted to fines. Others were found not guilty, leaving the Mainland extremely dissatisfied.
Put ourselves in their shoes. The Taiwanese telephone fraud perpetrators abused their visa-free treatment. Groups such as these are common in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa. More recently, groups originally based in Southeast Asia have readily obtained visas from African countries. Using local telephone networks, they have defrauded many people on the Mainland, inflicting serious losses. When arrested, they use legal loopholes in Taiwan's laws. They get their charges reduced to misdemeanors or even acquittals. They deliberately blow the incidents up, inflicting grave damage to Taiwan's international image.
Internet fraud should never have been treated so lightly in the first place. Telephone fraud on Taiwan has dropped, but it has risen 30% on the Mainland. The victims may be from the Mainland. But we should nevertheless cooperate in combating crime. We should amend the laws on telecommunications fraud, adding stiffer penalties. Taiwan must not become a paradise of legal loopholes enabling criminals to commit fraud.
We value equality and dignity between the two sides. But we must not allow a single case to derail cross-Strait relations. Mainland Taiwan Affairs Office Director Zhang Zhijun has already briefed MAC Chairwoman Hsia Li-yan. Pundits should not assume that this case has set back cross-Strait relations. The two sides have already spoken on the hotline. In accordance with the Agreement on Cross-Strait Cooperation in Combating Crimes and Mutual Legal Assistance", criminal justice personnel will travel to the Mainland to deal with the case, and arrange family visits with the suspects. The Mainland has expressed its willingness to assist. Our side must abide by this agreement, which both parties signed.
The inquiry could extend beyond the May 20 power handover. The new government has made solemn representations to the Mainland and demanded the release of suspects. But just how much do the two sides trust each other? The Mainland is waiting for president elect Tsai Ing-wen to express good faith on the 1992 Consensus, and the premise that "both sides of the Strait are part of one China". Tsai Ing-wen, alas, has yet to offer a satisfactory answer. The Mainland has taken appropriate steps. It has cut the number of Mainland tourists allowed onto Taiwan. It has established diplomatic relations with Gambia. It has made clear that Taiwan must apply to the AIIB in the same manner as Hong Kong. Clearly cross-Strait interaction requires goodwill as its foundation.
The Mainland will continue to exert pressure on the DPP up until May 20. Had the Kenyan case erupted when cross-Strait relations were better, communication would be much easier. But the manner in which the DPP is addressing the Mainland is likely to set back cross-Strait relations following May 20. Many problems beset the two sides. Most of them will affect the welfare of people on Taiwan. Tsai Ing-wen must be more rational than ever, and view global affairs from a more elevated perspective.
引起軒然大波， 雖然朝野同聲譴責肯亞和北京事先未知會我方的措施，傷害我主權； 然而，此案牽涉到國際司法管轄權、 兩岸司法互助協議以及台灣涉及國際詐騙的形象問題， 自應理性應對，尤其不能意氣用事，將主權問題無限上綱， 甚至刻意政治化，無端指責大陸。兩岸基於互信互助， 依過去處理的原則和模式協商，自可圓滿落幕。
逮捕跨國電信詐騙集團成員， 肯亞法院審理認為犯罪被害人不在肯亞， 依據肯亞法律裁判這些人犯罪不成立； 而中國大陸以受害人為大陸民眾為由， 要求遣送詐騙集團成員到大陸受審，肯亞因外交上承認「一個中國」 原則，同意遣返。 集團的台籍成員知道兩岸對於詐騙犯罪刑期差異很大， 拒絕接受遣返大陸，並強力抵抗，於是肯亞警方採取強制遣送作為， 又增添了國人的怒氣。
採取直接遣送措施，馬總統代表政府立即表達抗議， 並要求陸委會持續溝通；準總統蔡英文也透過臉書向大陸提出呼籲， 要求北京應立即與我方協商、釋放遭到關押的台灣民眾； 國民黨和民進黨也分別召開記者會表達關切， 顯示在維護國人人權和國家尊嚴的立場上不分黨派的一面。
而對肯亞及大陸無端指責。依法論法，法務部也明確指出， 中方要求將犯罪嫌疑人帶去大陸審訊，符合「 國際刑事司法互助原則」，肯亞將國人引渡至大陸，符合「 刑事司法屬地原則」的「最優先原則」； 而且肯亞接受由大陸代表中國將嫌犯移交大陸，是政治現實， 台灣只能要求大陸依據兩岸相關協議處理，不應無端指責。
因不屬境外犯罪重罪或特別規定罪，無管轄權；而且， 即使遣送回台審判，因法院對詐欺案長期輕判， 造成犯罪集團有恃無恐。以2011年菲律賓破獲跨國詐騙案為例， 當時菲律賓將其中14名台灣人遣送到大陸，在我方強烈抗議後， 大陸邀請台灣檢察官至大陸一起辦案， 最後再將被告和卷證移回台灣偵辦起訴， 但結果這些人最後被判易科罰金或無罪，讓陸方相當不滿。
中東與非洲國家犯案情況相當普遍； 近來集團更將原設在東南亞國家的詐騙發話基地台， 移到容易取得簽證的非洲國家，然後在當地透過網路電話， 專向大陸民眾詐騙，造成受害人嚴重損失；一旦被捕， 又企圖利用台灣法律輕罪漏洞脫罪，故意擴大事端， 嚴重損害台灣形象。
台灣近來電信詐騙雖然已經大幅下降，但大陸卻增加了3成， 就算是大陸民眾受害，我們也應本著兩岸共同打擊犯罪的決心， 修法將電信詐欺罪的量刑加重， 不能讓台灣變成歹徒鑽法律漏洞進行詐欺的樂園。
也不應把單一個案上綱成兩岸的對抗關係。 大陸國台辦主任張志軍已向陸委會主委夏立言提出說明， 外界不宜將個案說成是兩岸關係倒退。經過兩岸熱線溝通後， 我方已依《兩岸共同打擊犯罪及司法互助協議》， 安排司法人員前往大陸會同處理，並安排嫌犯家屬探視， 陸方也表達願意協助。我方自應遵照雙方簽訂的協議進行交涉。
新政府在向陸方表達嚴正抗議和交涉放人的同時， 也應重新審視兩岸的互信關係。最近以來， 大陸期待準總統蔡英文在「九二共識」、「兩岸同屬一中」 的大原則能有善意表示，但蔡英文始終沒有給出對岸滿意的回應， 大陸也採取相應的施壓手段，諸如實質縮減陸客來台人數、 和甘比亞建交， 接著針對台灣加入亞投行的申請要比照香港等等作為， 顯示兩岸的善意才是互動的基礎。
這次的肯亞事件如果在兩岸關係和緩的情況下，溝通會順利很多。 但是我們看到民進黨的發言率以對立的態度批評對岸，這樣的態度在 520之後很可能使兩岸關係倒退。兩岸的事務繁多， 且大部分都牽涉到台灣人民的權益，蔡英文應該以更理性、 觀照全局的宏觀態度面對。