Mon, Aug 23, 2004 - Page 3 News List

3 Chinese tourists who didn't flee get deported

STAFF WRITER

While originally slated to depart the country today, three Chinese tourists were forced to leave Taiwan early on Friday following the disappearance a total of 14 members of their tour group last week.

The tour group had arrived at CKS International Airport from Fujian Province on the 17th after having made a stopover in Thailand. While the group had checked into a hotel in Taoyuan, 13 members of the tour group had disappeared by the time the tour guide performed required room checks. Another member of the group absconded last Thursday, while the remaining tourists went on their tours as originally scheduled.

The remaining three members of the 17-member tour group were escorted to the CKS International Airport, departing the nation Friday morning on board a 11:25am flight headed for Hong Kong and then China.

The Ministry of Interior's Immigration Office did not reveal the decision to deport the three Chinese tourists until late Thursday night for fear that mandatory deportation would lead the three remaining tourists attempting to abscond as well. While the Kepin Travel Service, the travel agency handling the group's itinerary, had originally been asked to advise the three to depart early, all three had chosen to remain under surveillance and within the confines of a Taipei hotel.

The Immigration Office then decided to kick the three tourists out of the country early by canceling their visas because of policies requiring tour groups to enter and leave together were now irrelevant. The visas for all the members of the group had been authorized in early July. The group had been slated to tour the nation from Aug 17 to Aug. 23.

According to reports in the media yesterday, the three Chinese tourists, along with relatives who were visiting them in their hotel rooms, had expressed anger at the ministry's decision to cancel their visas.

The Chinese tourists said they had not committed any crime nor done anything wrong.

The Control Yuan also announced that it would be investigating the situation given two instances of Chinese tourists absconding while visiting the nation in the past month. Just last month, another 17 Chinese tourists had gone missing at the airport, failing to report to the tour guide as required.

According to the Control Yuan, the investigation will probe two areas -- whether government agencies were negligent in the implementation of existing policies and whether the policies themselves are appropriate.

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