Taiwan says 7 nationals detained in Cambodia for telecom fraud

TAIPEI - Cambodia has detained seven Taiwan nationals suspected of running a telecoms scam, the self-ruled island said on Thursday, adding that it is trying to bring them home and avoid their deportation to China, which gave information for the crackdown.

Cambodia, one of China's closest allies in Southeast Asia, does not recognise the island's government.

Last year it deported 13 Taiwan nationals wanted on the same charges to mainland China, despite opposition from Taipei, which accused Beijing of "abducting" its citizens.

Taiwan's foreign ministry said seven of a group of 31 people detained on Monday were Taiwan nationals, adding that they might be compelled to go to China, although it was working to ensure they are returned to the island.

"We are seeking for the Cambodia authorities to act in accordance with the 'national jurisdiction principle' and return our country's nationals back home to accept a judicial investigation," a foreign ministry spokeswoman said.

This week, Reuters reported that 29 Chinese nationals arrested in Cambodia on suspicion of running a telecoms scam would be deported to China, which would send a plane to pick them up by next week.

Taiwan, which does not have overseas representatives in Cambodia, said it learnt of the detentions through a representative office in Ho Chi Minh City in neighbouring Vietnam.

Taiwan is working to help the suspects and protect their rights, the foreign ministry spokeswoman said, adding that it hoped to promote joint efforts to crack down on cross-border fraud.

China regards self-ruled Taiwan as a wayward province and has never renounced the use of force to bring it under its control. China's Nationalists fled to the island after losing a civil war with the Communists in 1949. 

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