MOFA in touch with UK over hit-and-run fugitive
By Joseph Yeh, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan's representative office in the United Kingdom has been in close contact with UK authorities to locate a fugitive British national after the convicted drunk driver was found to have fled the nation to avoid a prison term, a Foreign Ministry official said yesterday.
February 1, 2013, 1:01 am TWN
Hsu Mien-sheng (徐勉生), director-general of MOFA's Department of European Affairs, said the ministry has passed all related information on the case to its office in London.
He added that MOFA is also in close touch with the Taipei District Prosecutors Office that put British businessman Zain Taj Dean on the wanted list Tuesday after he failed to show up last Sept. 21 to begin a four-year prison term.
Dean reportedly returned to the UK using the passport of an acquaintance.
Commenting on the case, Hsu said yesterday it has not been confirmed that Dean ultimately ended up in the UK following his escape.
But if he is indeed in the country, the Taiwan government has already come up with several backup plans with the ultimate goal that the British fugitive can be sent back to Taiwan to serve his sentence, the MOFA official added.
Hsu admitted, however, it could be difficult to extradite the fugitive since Taiwan and the UK do not have official ties nor have the respective governments signed an extradition agreement.
But the government will do its best to negotiate with British counterparts to come up with a feasible solution, he added.
Hsu made the remarks when asked to comment on the high-profile case that has recently caused public outrage in Taiwan.
According to prosecutors, Dean, a British citizen of Indian descent, was found to have left Taipei for Thailand Aug. 14 last year, using the passport of a Caucasian English teacher also living in Taiwan, identified only as David.
The National Immigration Agency has already expressed regret over the incident and said immigration officials who have been found negligent in their duties will be punished.
The case has exposed a serious loophole in the nation's immigration control.
Dean, who served as CEO of a UK-based company's Taiwan chapter, was convicted last July of a hit-and-run while under the influence of alcohol in which a newspaper delivery man was killed in Taipei in March 2010.
Dean's Girlfriend Questioned
Meanwhile, prosecutors yesterday summoned Dean's Taiwanese girlfriend, surnamed Tung, to determine if she assisted the fugitive's escape.
Tung, however, claimed she has long lost contact with Dean and she knew nothing about the British man's whereabouts.
David has been barred from leaving the country, is currently being held in a detention center and could face charges of helping a criminal escape and document forgery.