Phnom Penh, June 24 (IANS) Despite opposition from the Taipei government, Cambodia on Friday deported to China 25 Taiwanese nationals wanted on fraud charges.
The Taiwanese suspects were escorted by dozens of Cambodian and Chinese police officers onto a plane at Phnom Penh International Airport, along with 14 Chinese nationals, EFE news reported.
All 39 suspects are accused of involvement in internet fraud schemes targeting mainland China.
Taiwan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Eleanor Wang said earlier this week that officials were working to prevent the deportation, and were urging Cambodia to adhere to the ‘nationality principle’ by deporting the Taiwanese suspects to Taiwan.
Cambodia, one of China’s closest allies in Southeast Asia, adheres to Beijing’s ‘One China’ policy, which states that Taiwan is part of China.
While Taiwan has been self-ruled since splitting from China in 1949, Beijing maintains that it is part of its territory waiting to be reunified.
Cambodia’s decision today to deport the group comes just months after Malaysia and Kenya deported Taiwanese nationals to mainland China in April, sparking strong criticism from Taipei.