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Immigration chief open to probe of Taiwan protest over deportations

First Posted 13:10:00 02/08/2011

MANILA, Philippines?The Bureau of Immigration said Tuesday it was up to the Department of Justice to investigate Taiwan's protest over the deportation of 14 of its nationals to the People?s Republic of China.

Bureau officer-in-charge Ronaldo Ledesma, in a phone interview, said the agency was open to any investigation regarding Taiwan's complaint.

"The DoJ would be the lead agency in any probe. We have not yet received any notice of investigation," Ledesma said.

Asked about the statement of Taiwan's foreign ministry on Monday that it would recall its representative to Manila, tighten its visa regulations for overseas Filipino workers and cancel the existing visa-free treatment for travelers from the Philippines, Ledesma replied, "It's just a threat."

Immigration agents arrested 14 Taiwanese and 10 Chinese nationals in December over an alleged scam to swindle mainlanders out of $20 million.

All the suspects were deported to China, despite protests from Taiwan, which said its citizens should have been sent back to the island to face justice.

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