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MOFA offers help to Taiwan nationals held in Bangladesh

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan has sent officials to provide assistance to Taiwanese nationals who were reportedly arrested in Bangladesh under suspicion of violating local telecommunication laws, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday.

MOFA spokeswoman Anna Kao (高安) told local media that Taiwan's representative office in India has sent staff to Bangladesh to look into the case and provide necessary assistance to the Taiwanese nationals held there.

Foreign media reports said on Monday that Bangladesh security forces arrested 37 Chinese and Taiwanese nationals after raiding an illegal Internet telephone operation they were allegedly running in a Dhaka neighborhood on Sunday.

Officers from the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) raided the apartment block late on Sunday and arrested the foreigners over the Voiceover Internet Protocol (VoIP) operation offering cheap international calls, RAB spokesman Habibur Rahman told AFP.

Among the 37, 32 are Taiwanese nationals, an AFP report quoted an local official as saying on Monday.

Asked to comment, Kao said yesterday that since MOFA has no representative office in Bangladesh, after learning of the news the ministry first asked assistance from a Taiwan Trade Office in Dhaka, Bangladesh to gain first-hand information on the case.

Yesterday morning, the ministry sent personnel from India to gain better knowledge of the case and to confirm the identities of the Taiwanese, she said.

Kao would not give more details on the case, saying only that the Bangladesh government has not yet made public information on the list of the arrested and other details related to the incident.

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