Taiwan Solidarity Union lawmakers yesterday called into question the effectiveness of the government’s border control measures, accusing authorities of being lax in keeping tabs on Chinese visitors entering the country.
Without identifying their source, the legislators said that since 1988, a total of 2,768 Chinese nationals have overstayed their permits to visit Taiwan, while 2,327 others entered the nation and are unaccounted for.
The legislators also accused the National Immigration Agency (NIA) of deliberately underreporting the numbers, saying that just 303 undocumented Chinese nationals are mentioned on an NIA Web page.
In response, Huang Yung-jui (黃永睿), a section chief at the National Security Bureau, said the government has maintained its efforts to locate Chinese nationals who entered Taiwan legally, but are now listed as undocumented because their whereabouts are unknown.
The government has always paid great attention to the issue because these people could be engaging in illegal activities in Taiwan and may pose a threat to the country’s security, he added.
NIA First Specialized Operation Corps Deputy Chief Lu Yu-min (魯佑民) said that the Web page was established for the purpose of soliciting the public’s help in locating some undocumented Chinese nationals and does reflect the total number.
At the request of the lawmakers, Lu promised to provide comprehensive statistics regarding overstaying or undocumented Chinese nationals within two weeks and update the numbers every month.
Earlier this month, statistics from the NIA suggested that while Chinese now enjoy facilitated travel to Taiwan, criminal activities perpetrated by Chinese have also remained high.
More than 700 Chinese are on a list for overstaying their visa and 211 of them may be involved in illegal activities, the agency said, adding that these were only the numbers officially recorded.
The actual numbers could be as high as 1,000 Chinese overstays, it added.