Tue, May 09, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Custody battle girl won't be allowed to leave yet: MOFA

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwanese authorities yesterday said a little girl named Emily, who is at the center of a custody dispute, could not leave the country without a Taiwanese passport, wrecking her father's plan to leave the country with his daughter.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍) yesterday told reporters "because the girl entered the country using a Taiwanese passport, she cannot leave the country with a foreign passport."

Lu said the ministry would not issue a new passport for the girl since her passport was still valid. He said the matter would be resolved according to the court's decision.

Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Liao Pen-yen (廖本煙) yesterday accompanied the girl's mother, surnamed Ruan, to the Bureau of Consular Affairs.

Liao said Ruan showed Emily's passport to the bureau, proving that the girl's passport was not missing. The bureau therefore promised not to issue a new passport for the girl.

Liao and Ruan then went to the National Police Agency's Immigration Office. The commissioner of the office, Wu Cheng-chi (吳振吉), told Liao, Ruan and reporters that the girl would not be allowed to leave the country using a foreign passport.

"The nation's two international airports, CKS International Airport and Kaohsiung International Airport, would keep an eye out for the girl," Wu said.

Lu and Wu's remarks seemed to have dashed the plans of the girl's father to leave the country yesterday using an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) that was issued for his daughter yesterday and her US passport.

Meanwhile, because Taichung District Court had issued an enforcement order that had allowed the father to take the girl from her mother, Ruan yesterday filed a petition asking the court to dismiss that order.

Her lawyer also applied to the court for a provisional disposition, which would prohibit the father from keeping the girl throughout the trial if the court approved the petition.

The custody battle for Emily has become a focus of sensational news coverage after the youngster's mother contacted the local media with her story.

Ruan used to work as the New York correspondent for the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-run Chinese-language newspaper Central Daily News. She has said that she had the child with the 55-year-old US citizen in 2003, but decided to return to Taiwan in 2004 after she discovered that he was already married.

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