LONDON (Agencies) - India, South Korea and Taiwan should join the global trend and immediately establish a moratorium on the death penalty, rights group Amnesty International said Friday. In an appeal to mark World Day Against the Death Penalty, Amnesty said these three nations had stopped executing criminals in recent years and should make that move official, setting an example for the rest of Asia. The continent executes more people each year than any other part of the world, with China leading the way. Beijing executed at least 470 people last year, the rights group said, although the real figure is likely much higher. Amnesty called for more transparency in nations where the death penalty is entrenched, as well as improvements in the judicial process and a review of the non-violent crimes punishable by death. As of June, 137 countries worldwide had abolished the death penalty in practice or in law, including 27 in Asia. Amnesty said India, South Korea and Taiwan were now well-placed to join them. India has not carried out an execution since 2004, although death sentences are still handed down. South Korea held its last executions in December 2007, but 58 prisoners remain under sentence of death. Taiwan condemned two people this year, bringing the total number on death row to 30, but has not carried out any executions since December 2005. "There is a window of hope and a chance for change in Asia," said Amnesty International Secretary-General Irene Khan. "Today we are urging India, South Korea and Taiwan to join the global trend towards ending executions and set an example for the rest of the continent to follow." There were 664 executions in Asia in 2007, of at least 1,252 worldwide, but Irene Khan deplored the "terrible lack of transparency" about the use of the punishment and warned the real number was likely far higher. In China, which along with Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the United States account for 88 per cent of recorded executions last year, such figures are a state secret.  In Japan, where more than 100 people are on death row, hangings are usually shrouded in secrecy, with many prisoners only told of their fate hours before. Amnesty warned of deficient legal processes across the continent, saying defendants often cannot access adequate legal representation, trials are held in secret or they are given no time to appeal their sentences. The rights group also questioned why non-violent crimes like tax evasion and drug trafficking carried the death penalty. In Vietnam, 29 offences are punishable by death, including smuggling, forgery and offering and accepting bribes. Last year, 80 people were sentenced to execution for drug-related offences, Amnesty said. The group called on the United Nations to pay attention to what is happening in Vietnam and send a special rapporteur to investigate the state of freedom of opinion and expression. The request comes at the end of a long report which examines the behaviour of Vietnamese authorities with regards to peaceful Catholic protesters. "The Vietnamese government must end its intimidation and attacks against Catholics and ensure protection against violence by state-sponsored groups," AI said.