Tikoduadua responds to allegations against Yue Lai Hotel Owner in 60 Minutes show
This is a subject of investigations by FIU for a long time

Tikoduadua responds to allegations against Yue Lai Hotel Owner in 60 Minutes show

This is a subject of investigations by FIU for a long time

By Vijay Narayan
Monday 25/03/2024
Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, The Chinese flag fluttering above the Embassy at Suva Point in Fiji. [Image: David Robie/PMC] and Minister for Home Affairs, Pio Tikoduadua

Minister for Home Affairs, Pio Tikoduadua says the allegations raised by Australia's 60 Minutes Television Show in relation to Suva’s Yue Lai Hotel owner is not new, as this matter has been the subject of investigations by the Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit for a long time.

While making a statement regarding allegations against Yue Lai Hotel owner, Zhao Fugang, Home Affairs Minister Tikoduadua reiterates what he told the 60 Minutes Television that if anyone has any evidence about these allegations, this should be reported to the Fiji Police Force to investigate.

The report also highlighted the 77 Chinese nationals taken back to China from Fiji in 2017 with no legal processes involved and no court cases.

In August 2017, a joint statement by the Fiji Police Force and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China said the 77 Chinese nationals who were sent back to China from Fiji weree suspected to be involved in more than 50 telecom and online fraud cases targeting Chinese citizens in China amounting to about $US900,000.

The joint statement said that a joint operation between Fijian and Chinese law enforcement agencies under an existing Memorandum of Understanding of police cooperation resulted in the removal of the 77 Chinese nationals who were found to be in breach of their visa conditions.

The-77-Chinese-nationals-who-were-sent-back-to-China-Photo-Xinhua
The 77 Chinese nationals who were sent back to China Photo: Xinhua

They say a request for assistance was extended to the Fiji Police Force from the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of Public Security regarding the group’s alleged involvement in certain illegal activities which were in breach of their visa conditions.

However according to Australia intelligence reports, this is one of the ways the Chinese Communist Party is exerting power and influence in the Pacific.

Although the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project reports that Australian law enforcement and intelligence agencies suspect Zhao is one of the leaders of organized crime, he has not been charged with any crime.

It has been revealed that Australian law enforcement officials have shared intelligence on Zhao with Fiji in an effort to get local authorities to move against him.

Fiji’s Home Affairs Minister, Pio Tikoduadua confirms that Australian authorities had shared intelligence with him that raised serious concerns about Zhao.

Tikoduadua says Fijian law enforcement may act on something that has been raised with them by foreign intelligence, but adds that the allegation must have some basis in fact and in law for them to be able to respond to it.

Zhao has denied any involvement in criminality.

Asked if he worked on behalf of the Chinese government, he gave a one word answer: “Yes.”

fijivillage News tried to contact Zhao for further comments. He is out of the country.

When we contacted the Fiji Police Force, Assistant Commissioner of Police Crime, Mesake Waqa said they will not comment at this stage.

Fijian Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has said in an interview that he was unaware of Australian claims that Zhao is involved in organized crime.

Rabuka’s government announced in mid-March that it was restarting the policing agreement with China that it had suspended last year. But the prime minister nonetheless said he had concerns that China’s government may have links to organized crime groups active in Fiji.

Rabuka said he does not want to… open the door to someone that could turn out to be not a friend.

He said he feels stuck because he does not understand China’s agenda.

Rabuka said the threat to our security is when we get so low and weak in our economy that they can buy our favour.

He adds this includes anybody that comes in and loads us up with goodies.

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