Folk singer Ezell gets to stay in Taiwan, for the time being

By Max Woodworth  /  STAFF REPORTER

Sun, Jun 27, 2004 - Page 18

Scott Ezell, the American folk singer featured in last week's Taipei Times Sunday Features who faces deportation over a free musical performance, was granted a three-month suspension on his deportation order this week by the Council for Labor Affairs (CLA).

Ezell had been notified earlier this month that his work permit with Taiwan Colors Music was revoked based on a report by Taitung foreign affairs police that the American had violated the terms of the Employment Services Act when he participated in a series of concerts at a cultural center in the township of Dulan, north of Taitung. The law, which forbids foreigners from performing any sort of labor, paid or unpaid, to a second employer, was applied in Ezell's case, despite the performance's backing from the Taitung Cultural Affairs Bureau. The original notice that his work permit was canceled allowed Ezell 14 days to leave the country. He was notified of his suspension one working day before his planned departure.

The suspension of Ezell's deportation order was granted pending an appeal to the Executive Yuan which claiming procedural irregularities on the part of the Taitung police.

The CLA is not authorized to investigate reports by police regarding violations of work permits and canceled Ezell's following the receipt of the Taitung police report which included a statement by Ezell that he had been a part of the Dulan Organic Music Series, a series of concerts featuring local folk singers.

Ezell alleges the statement was obtained without his full understanding of its contents, and was misled about its potential use in a criminal case to revoke his work permit. Ezell alleges he was not read his right to representation nor his right to remain silent.

The appeal in Ezell's case could be complete within three months, before the end of the suspension of his deportation order. During the appeal process, Ezell is not permitted to continue working for his original employer.

Ezell was employed as a translator by Taiwan Colors Music and was involved in artistic activities at a local arts community in Dulan.