Palau welcomes all visitors and investors into the country but will prosecute if they violate laws, responded President Surangel Whipps to the article by Organized Crime and Reporting Project (OCCRP) – “Pacific Gambit: Inside the Chinese Communist Party and Triad Push into Palau.”
The article connects Chinese citizens with alleged involvement in the Chinese Communist Party“and/or in organized crime to Palauan citizens, including high government officials, inferring attempts to gain the sympathy of the locals and subvert government officials to their cause.
President Whipps expressed doubts that connections were “deliberately orchestrated” between the Palauans and the foreigners. Maybe it could have been done by outsiders, but he said Palau, as a small country, had no means to verify people’s backgrounds. Palau does not require a visa to enter, which removes the capacity to screen an individual before they get here.
Delegate Timothy Sinsak, former postpaster, who was named in the article as having been part of the group that created a non-profit organization with Wan Kuok Koi, aka, Broken Tooth, said they did not know anything about him when they met him. He said that as soon as they read about him in the news, they wrote a letter to Attorney General to dissolve the Organization.
“Economic relationship, we have no issues. If a person wants to rent our house or comes as a tourist from any country in the world, we accept the person. Our issue is with the criminal elements in our country,” explained Whipps.
Work has been ongoing to improve the capacity and skills of government agencies, such as the Financial Investigation Unit, Financial Institution Corporation, and Attorney General to monitor and manage our borders. Whipps added.
Palau’s Border Protection and Customs Division is getting new equipment and systems in place to help monitor and secure borders
Acknowledging the ongoing competition between China and Taiwan, Whipps said this competition between the two countries would not stop. “We have established our relationship with Taiwan and we have made it clear that anyone who befriends us, do not tell who we should not be friends with.”