Wed, Jul 28, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Chinese `tourists' face clampdown

DISAPPEARING ACT The Mainland Affairs Council is set to tighten security measures after a tour group from China vanished almost as soon as they arrived in Taiwan

CNA , Taipei

The Mainland Affairs Council will unveil a new package of measures later this week to prevent Chinese tourists from absconding after legally entering the country, tourism officials said yesterday.

The government decided to tighten security measures after a 17-member Chinese tour group disappeared en masse after arriving at CKS International Airport July 13. It was the first incident of its kind and caused alarm among security authorities, coming as it did in the midst of the Han Kuang No. 20 military exercises.

The council has invited officials from the Tourism Bureau, the Immigration Bureau and the Aviation Police Bureau to discuss effective measures to prevent Chinese tourists from absconding to find jobs or spy.

Tourism Bureau officials said they have suggested that new standard operating procedures be adopted for customs clearance and reception of Chinese tourists.

Moreover, the officials said, travel agencies hosting Chinese tour groups should exercise self-discipline. In the future, the officials said, the Travel Agents Association will be authorized to handle initial screenings of Chinese tourist entry applications in order to better understand the backgrounds of individual tourists.

The officials said the two travel agencies hosting the missing Chinese tour group have been fined NT$200,000 and NT$150,000, respectively, in accordance with the law. In addition, their NT$1 million deposits will be used for repatriating seized Chinese tourists.

So far, four members of the tour group have been nabbed. One of them, identified as Chen Junyun (陳俊云), was deported yesterday.

Chen, 37, of Fujian Province, was arrested by aviation police when he showed up at CKS Airport Monday and tried to buy a ticket to leave the country.

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