Taipei presses US for return of tycoon

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 February, 2007, 12:00am

Taiwan is stepping up efforts, including seeking US help and hiring legal consultants, to try to have a disgraced tycoon extradited to the island to stand trial.

Taiwanese Foreign Minister James Huang Chih-fang said yesterday that the relevant government departments were communicating closely with the US over the possible return of Wang You-theng, founder of the financially troubled Rebar group. 'His case is now being handled by the US immigration authorities and we respect their rights in handling the case,' Mr Huang said.

The 80-year-old tycoon and his wife, Wang Chin Shyi-ying, fled the island in late December, leaving behind at least NT$40 billion (HK$9.47 billion) in debts. He eventually landed in the US and later tried to go to Singapore, but was sent back to the US. Because the US had cancelled his visa, Wang was arrested by immigration authorities for illegal entry on his return.

Taiwanese Foreign Ministry spokesman David Wang Chien-yeh said the government was looking into legal measures it could take to bring the tycoon back to the island.

Wang's wife, who has acquired US nationality, has reportedly hired a top immigration lawyer in the US to help save her husband.

US immigration authorities will hold a hearing this week on Wang's illegal entry.