Taiwan and rival China swap criminals, including hijackers

Taiwan and its bitter rival China on Tuesday repatriated a total of 21 lawbreakers including two hijackers in line with a 1990 agreement, despite longstanding stalemate between the two sides, government officials said.

Taiwan and rival China swap criminals, including hijackers
Taiwan and its bitter rival China on Tuesday repatriated a total of 21 lawbreakers including two hijackers in line with a 1990 agreement, despite longstanding stalemate between the two sides, government officials said.

Yang Mingde and Lin Wengqiang, who separately hijacked two jetliners in 1993 and 1994 to Taiwan from China, were sent to the southern Chinese city of Fuzhou from the outlying island of Matsu, said Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC).

"The two were supposed to be repatriated back to mainland China after being convicted and serving jail terms here in February 1999," Taiwan's top China-policy agency said in a statement.

But in an attempt to stop the repatriation, they used sharpened pieces of metal they hid in their clothes to hurt an official escorting them to Matsu where they would be repatriated, MAC said.

They were charged and imprisoned again until Tuesday, MAC said.

MAC officials later said the two were taken from Fuzhou to Shandong province in northeast China, where they might be put on trial again under the Chinese law for hijacking.

The two were among 18 Chinese hijackers who diverted 13 Chinese planes to Taiwan between 1993 and 1998 in an attempt to seek political asylum, the officials said.

But because Taiwan no longer welcomed them as anti-Communist heroes, they were sent back after being tried and imprisoned in Taiwan for hijacking, they added.

The officials said the repatriation was in line with a 1990 agreement signed by Red Cross societies of Taiwan and China to facilitate return of cross-strait criminals and stowaways.

China Tuesday also repatriated 19 Taiwanese back to the island, the officials said.

Of the 19, four were wanted by Taiwanese authorities for fraud and manslaughter, while the rest were arrested by Chinese authorities for illegal entry, drug running and frauds, they said.

Taiwan and China have remained at the loggerheads since they split at the end of a civil war in 1949. Taipei has banned direct link with China.

DPA
Last Mod: 15 Ağustos 2007, 01:42
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