Pacific Media Watch

15 August 2017

VANUATU: Foreign nations extralegal police operations not permitted, says government

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77 alleged members of a Chinese crime syndicate ... rounded up by Chinese police and flown from Fiji to China. Image: CCTV/Vanuatu Digest

By Bob Makin
PORT VILA (Vanuatu Digest/Pacific Media Watch): Alleged members of a Chinese online fraud syndicate were detained and flown out of Fiji on a plane full of Chinese police.

Fiji has no extradition treaty with China, meaning Fiji allowed the police force of another nation to operate on its soil last week outside of the checks and balances provided for by Fijian law. 

This is of concern for Fiji’s neighbours, including Vanuatu, because it indicates China is willing to bypass the sovereign legal systems of Pacific nations and conduct security operations on foreign soil whenever it suits them, Vanuatu Digest reports. 

The acting director general of foreign affairs told media such a situation could not occur in Vanuatu, although one alleged Chinese criminal, who subsequently was given Vanuatu citizenship, has recently been detained, his citizenship revoked, and is now awaiting extradition.

Radio New Zealand International reports a mass rendition from Fiji after authorities discovered the captain of a Vanuatu-flagged Indonesian vessel fishing had been murdered.

The crew were extradited to Vanuatu and have been sentenced to 18 years in prison, although there is criticism Vanuatu’s Extradition Act is inadequate in such matters.  

Legislated changes are being sought, however.  

Foreign work halted
MG Global has confirmed to the Vanuatu Daily Post work on their hotel site at Melcofe, adjacent to the ni-Vanuatu-owned Vila Rose hotel, has been stopped for environmental reasons.

The Environment Act has been used to halt the work which is being carried out by Chinese company CCECC.

Vanuatu Digest also reports the Ifira Ports Development Services (IPDS) has moved into its new premises on Wharf Road. 

The three-storey building will house Customs (ASYCUDA services) and quarantine facilities.

The Ifira Trustees group of companies is also housed in this building which is looking to an October official opening. 

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