UPDATE: The Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society (GEBIS) issued the following statement in response to this story.
“News published in the last few weeks has led to speculation whether three fugitives from Taiwan (Su Chen Tuan, Huang Po Chien and Huang Li Hsiung), believed to be in Canada, were hiding on Prince Edward Island because of their connection to The Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society (GEBIS). GEBIS would like to state that it has no knowledge of the whereabouts of the three persons.
We can confirm that one of them, Dr. Huang Li Hsiung, had visited PEI, along with many other Buddhist practitioners as part of a Buddhist retreat. We can also disclose that he has made a religious donation to GEBIS. The two other persons involved have not participated in any GEBIS related activities. GEBIS has shared this information with Taiwan authorities.
If needed, it will also provide this information to Canadian law enforcement.”
Su Chen Tuan and two other high-profile fugitives from Taiwan are believed to be in Canada, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau (MJIB).
According to the Ministry’s database of fugitives, Su, a famous blogger who goes by the moniker Lady Nai Nai, her partner Huang Po Chien, a plastic surgeon, and her partner’s father Huang Li Hsiung, a doctor, are wanted by the Taipei District Prosecutor’s Office for being “involved in fraud and other cases” and have “fled overseas before the cases were investigated.”
Focus Taiwan, the English publication of Taiwan’s state-run news agency, reported that Su, Huang Po Chien and Huang Li Hsiung shut down Ab Initio Medicina, a cosmetic surgery clinic, allegedly defrauding clients, friends and investors of some $42 million.
The departure of Su and Huang Po Chien from Taiwan via a flight to San Francisco, which they boarded on Nov. 30, 2018, was confirmed by immigration officials at Taoyuan International Airport, the Taipei Times reports.
Focus Taiwan adds that they made their way across the Canadian border on Jan. 5.
“On January 10th, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan cancelled the passport of Ms. Su and other two Taiwanese nationals (both Mr. Huang) upon receiving requests from Prosecutors agencies,” Joanne Ou, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Deputy (MOFA) Spokesperson told Global News.
“The cancellation of their passport was informed to Canadian respective authorities through Taiwan’s Representative Office in Canada, Toronto Office and Vancouver Office.”
The invalidation of the trio’s Republic of China passports means they can no longer use their passports to travel.
“Currently the case is under the investigation of the Taiwan Taipei District Prosecutors Office,” Ou adds. “And MOFA will continue to be in fully coordination with the above-mentioned Prosecutors-Office.”
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On Jan. 14, Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau announced it is offering up to $10,670 ($250,000 New Taiwan Dollar) per person for tips on the three fugitives. “Taiwan, to the best of its ability, will work with Canada’s Department of Justice to bring Su back,” said Taiwan’s MOFA spokesperson Andrew H.C. Lee.
The Taipei Times is reporting that the three were questioned by the Canadian Border Services Agency on Jan. 5 while crossing the border by car from Buffalo, New York. In addition to Su, her partner and her partner’s father, another female relative and the elder Huang’s wife were with them. When asked by Global News if MOFA could confirm the people accompanying Su across the border, Ou said she could not “further disclosed their marital status, therefore I will not comment on whether it is her ‘husband or father in law.'”
Su’s husband presented his Canadian permanent residency documents to CBSA officials in Fort Erie while the others made refugee claims that they are being persecuted by Taiwanese authorities, the same Taipei Times report said.
“Due to privacy laws, IRCC cannot comment on specific cases. This includes confirming or denying that an asylum claim has been made,” said Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada in an email response to Global News when asked if the Taiwanese fugitives had, in fact, claimed asylum.
Taiwan and Canada do not have an extradition treaty, Taiwan’s National Immigration Agency said, which makes it impossible for the CBSA to take action against the fugitives. Su’s family was allowed into Ontario since they had proper visitor’s visas and no criminal record, the Taipei Times reports.
Canada’s Department of Justice said in an email to Global News that “discussions about extradition are confidential state-to-state communications, the department cannot comment on confidential communications that it may or may not have had with Taiwan.”
Earlier local reports claimed they were hiding out in Prince Edward Island due to connections they have with the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society, a Canadian-based Buddhist organization with campuses in Charlottetown, Murray River and Montague. Global News reached out to GEBIS to ask whether the fugitives were members of the institute or if they’ve donated money in the past to the P.E.I campus, but did not receive a response.
When asked by Global News in an email about whether Su, Huang Po Chien and Huang Li Hsiung had been documented to have crossed through the Canadian border, the Canada Border Services Agency said it’s not their practice to speak “to the specifics of a particular case, nor to discuss the citizenship status of an individual.”
Su deleted her blog and Facebook page on Dec. 8, 2018, after issuing an apology where she asked people to be lenient with their family so they could solve “the current urgent matter,” a Taipei Times article said.