Sun, Jan 22, 2006 - Page 2 News List

MAC pushes crackdown on illegal immigration

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The government is mulling legislation to crack down on illegal Chinese immigrants in a bid to reduce crime, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), said on Thursday.

"There have been many cases of major crimes being committed in Taiwan by illegal Chinese immigrants, jeopardizing social stability and national security," Wu said.

As examples, Wu cited the kidnapping of a young man, whose father, Lin Chong-yi (林鐘義), was a wealthy businessman who ran video-gambling parlors in Taipei County, and the murder of a taxi drive named Chen Jin-cheng (陳錦成) in Taichung County.

Illegal Chinese immigrants were found to be involved in both incidents, which occured in May and July last year, respectively.

Wu said that amendments may be introduced to strengthen the law by providing tougher punishments for people who help illegal immigrants enter the country or assist them in other ways.

Under current regulations, the government is entitled to confiscate any boat, car or other vehicle if illegal immigrants are found in them.

Last Tuesday, a Taipei County-based fishing vessel named Man Chun Yi was officially confiscated by the Fisheries Agency. On April 19 last year, the vessel was stop-ped off the coast near Hualien while trying to smuggle eight illegal Chinese immigrants into the country.

The vessel's fishing permits and the crew's licenses were also revoked.

The captain and owner of the vessel were recently sentenced by a local court in Keelung to a two-year prison term, and the three crew members were each sentenced to one year and seven months in prison.

"The confiscation marked the first time that the government had enforced the regulations since they were written into the law in 2003," Wu said.

Wu said that the MAC's suggestion to increase the punishment for people who transport illegal immigrants from China will be discussed soon at an interdepartmental meeting.

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