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Taipei works with Manila to confirm 110 'Taiwanese' arrested in the Philippines

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwanese officials in the Philippines are currently trying to confirm the identities of more than 100 people claiming to be Taiwanese who were recently arrested in the Philippines on telephone fraud charges, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday.

MOFA spokeswoman Anna Kao (高安) yesterday said officials at Taiwan's representative office in Manila have been keeping close contact with local authorities to confirm if these suspects are indeed R.O.C. nationals, as they claim to be.

The Philippine investigators arrested 175 suspects late Wednesday in five locations across the City of Angeles in Pampanga Province, Central Luzon on charges of running a scam operation to defraud victims over the phone.

The Philippine police seized computers, telecommunications devices, instruction booklets and lists of potential victims, according to Philippine National Bureau of Investigation Director Virgilio Mendez.

Philippines authorities said 110 of those arrested claimed they are Taiwanese nationals, while the remaining suspects said they are from China.

Commenting on the incident, Kao said yesterday that the ministry immediately sent its staff to Manila to improve their knowledge of the case and to confirm the identities of Taiwanese suspects after they learned about the arrest.

The move was done to protect the legal rights of Taiwanese nationals, she said.

The identities of the 110 who said they were from Taiwan could not be immediately confirmed as most of them did not produce documentation to prove their claims, according to personnel at Taiwan's representative office in the Philippines.

Related Taiwanese authorities including those from the foreign ministry and from law enforcement units are currently working closely with their Philippine counterparts to confirm the suspects' identities and clear the charges made against them, Kao said.

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