Taiwan helps extradite Spanish fugitive to Italy

Photo courtesy of the Criminal Investigation Bureau

TAIPEI (CNA) — A Spanish man wanted for sexual assault in Italy and being sought through an Interpol red notice has been deported from Taiwan as the result of police cooperation between Taiwan and Italy, the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) said Wednesday.

Taiwan police were asked for their help after being informed by their Italian counterparts in 2018 that the 35-year-old fugitive, wanted for sexual misconduct and other crimes in Italy 10 years ago, had gone into hiding in Taiwan for six years.

Taiwanese law enforcement authorities then formed a task force and invited Italian police liaison officers for discussions in Taiwan on a joint operation to crack the case.

After an investigation, police discovered that the Spanish man, named Juan Texta, had set up a company in Italy several years ago but was sentenced to six years and two months in prison on charges of sexual assault of employees and kidnapping in 2010, the CIB said.

Texta then fled Italy to live abroad to evade capture. He first came to Taiwan in March 2013 on a visitor visa and returned again in April 2014 on a student visa, after which he went into hiding in Taoyuan in northern Taiwan.

In his earlier period in Taiwan, Texta rented an apartment in Taoyuan and worked as a disc jockey at a night club. However, he was sentenced to two months in prison and prohibited from leaving the country in 2014 when his electric bicycle caught fire and injured some passersby. That conviction was confirmed in January this year.

After a period of surveillance and monitoring, police arrested Texta at his Taoyuan residence on Feb. 11 and deported him from Taiwan April 24 after he had served his jail term here, according to the CIB.

Due to the suspension of flights between Taiwan and Italy because of the COVID-19 corona pandemic, the CIB escorted Texta to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris on April 25, from where he was extradited to Italy by Interpol.

Interpol red notices are issued for fugitives wanted either for prosecution or to serve a sentence. It is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and detain anyone pending extradition or similar legal action.