The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office and the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau yesterday raided offices and residences connected with Chau Morn Consultants Co (喬盟國際顧問) over allegations that the immigration services consultancy was making counterfeit passports.
Chau Morn is alleged to have sold about a dozen fake passports — mostly purporting to be from the Philippines — to Taiwanese attempting to enroll their children as international students at the Asia American International Academy (AAIA) in New Taipei City’s Linkou District (林口), sources said.
Prosecutors have charged six people with forging passports, including Chau Morn owner Wang Chuan-hung (王權宏), they said, adding that the investigation was launched following a tip-off.
The six suspects were questioned, and were likely to be summoned later after a court issued an order to detain them or limit their movements, the sources said.
An unnamed source told the Central News Agency that counterfeit passports were sold for more than NT$100,000 (US$3,186) to parents wishing to enroll their children at the school.
Established in 1991, Chau Morn is the oldest Taiwanese company offering emigration services and also among the best-known, with its consultants often giving media interviews about obtaining foreign citizenship.
K-12 Education Administration official Han Chun-shu (韓春樹) told reporters that the Private School Act (私立學校法) exempts international schools from following education laws, but that local education officials have the authority to expel students enrolling in such schools with fake passports.
AAIA spokeswoman Yao Yun-tsai (姚雲彩) said that the school had not received any information from authorities about the allegations, but that two to three months ago parents told school officials about providing affidavits to the Investigation Bureau.
The school requires prospective students to submit a photocopy of their passport and maintains a list of students’ citizenship status, which is updated annually with the New Taipei City Education Department, she said.
The school is unable to verify the passports provided by students, as only the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can do that, Yao said.
If the government’s investigation substantiates the allegations of fake passports used for enrollment, the school would ask the affected students to leave, she said.
The AAIA opened in 2016 as the first American curriculum school in New Taipei City for grades 6 to 12.
Additional reporting by Hu Po-hsuan and CNA
NINE NEW CASES: The CECC said two locally transmitted cases of COVID-19, and seven imported ones – five women and two men – brought the nation’s total to 348 People who refuse to wear a mask on public transportation after being asked to do so would face a NT$3,000 to NT$15,000 fine, effective immediately, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday after announcing nine additional COVID-19 cases. In a move to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications on Tuesday announced that people must wear masks on trains and intercity buses, while Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, on Tuesday said that people should wear them when they cannot maintain a social distance of 1.5m indoors. Chen yesterday
The US National Security Council yesterday thanked Taiwan for its support amid the COVID-19 pandemic following President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement that Taiwan would donate 10 million masks to hard-hit countries. The donation includes 2 million masks to the US on top of the weekly 100,000 announced previously; 7 million to Europe; and 1 million to diplomatic allies, on top of 1 million Taiwan procured for allies from their neighboring countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday. After European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed appreciation for the donations, the US body yesterday wrote its thanks on Twitter. “We
TARGETED TEXTS: The center’s head said that visitor numbers at scenic spots were greater than expected and people did not do a very good job of social distancing The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday sent two warning text messages to urge people to practice social distancing, especially by avoiding crowded scenic areas. The two messages were sent at 11:55am on the third day of the four-day Tomb Sweeping Day weekend, reminding people about social distancing and hand hygiene to help prevent COVID-19 infection. “When visiting crowded scenic spots during the Tomb Sweeping Day weekend, please keep a social distance of at least 1.5m indoors and 1m outdoors, wear a mask and wash your hands frequently. Please wear a mask and seek immediate medical attention if you are feeling ill
STIMULUS FUNDS: Companies that report weak sales can apply for the financial aid, while subsidies for a one-time injection of working capital would also be available The Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday said that it would subsidize up to 40 percent of workers’ salaries for businesses that have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funded by a NT$39.6 billion (US$1.31 billion) budget — part of a newly expanded NT$1.05 trillion economic stimulus package approved by the Executive Yuan on Thursday — the ministry plans to assist companies with employee wages to help prevent job cuts. Companies facing an annual drop in sales of at least 50 percent for two consecutive months can apply for the financial aid, which would cover up to 40 percent of their employees’