Mon, Jul 28, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Wanted woman slipped past police on 14 occasions

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

A wanted Chinese Indonesian woman was able to enter and leave the country freely because the name provided by the Taoyuan District Court was incorrect, the National Immigration Agency said on Saturday.

The agency issued a statement in response to a report in the Chinese-language China Times report that said the woman, Hiang Tan Sui, who was recently arrested, had entered and left the country 14 times since her listing as a wanted criminal by the court in March.

The report said that the woman, 44, brought 19 bottles of weight-loss pills that were not approved by the Department of Health into the country last year.

She was turned over to the Taoyuan District Court on charges of violating pharmaceutical regulations.

Hiang was listed as wanted after failing to appear in court.

FAKE NAME

The immigration agency said the name given by the court was “Sujj Hiang,” which was not the name on the woman’s passport, “Hiang Tan Sui.”

Immigration officials checking the documents of travelers entering and leaving the country were unable to identify the woman from their computer files, the agency said.

An agency official explained that immigration officers usually process more than 70,000 passengers a day and adhere strictly to procedures.

The report that immigration checks have been “lax” was misinformed, the official said.

DATABANK

The official also said the list of persons barred from leaving or entering the country is usually sent to the agency’s databank by the authority that put them on the wanted list via the National Police Agency.

The immigration agency said “there was no negligence on the part of immigration officials at the airports.”

The official said, however, that the immigration agency would learn from this experience and step up communications with other authorities to double check that the names and information they provide are accurate and complete.

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