Sun, Oct 19, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Chinese tour group member disappears from Taipei hotel

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

A member of the first Chinese tour group allowed to travel to Taipei via Kinmen disappeared from a Taipei hotel shortly after his arrival and remains at large, the Tourism Bureau said in a statement on Friday.

Lin Guobin (林國斌) arrived in Taipei on a flight from Kinmen on Sept. 30 — the inaugural day of the new cross-strait travel formula — after reaching the island on a ferry from Xiamen earlier that day along with a tour group.

As part of its efforts to attract more Chinese tourist arrivals, Taiwan began to allow Chinese holidaymakers to fly to Taiwan via Kinmen on Sept. 30.

Lin was nowhere to be found when the Chinese tour group leader conducted a roll call the following morning, the Tourism Bureau statement said.

He remained missing on the group’s scheduled departing date of Oct. 8, the statement said.

After an intensive search over the past 10 days failed to find the man, the National Immigration Agency put Lin on the “wanted” list on Friday, the statement said.

The statement said that the Tourism Bureau would deduct NT$200,000 from the travel agency’s NT$1 million deposit as a fine.

All local travel agencies intending to host Chinese tour groups are required to deposit NT$1 million as a guarantee.

Lin’s entry permit application form said he was a staff member at a ready-to-wear garment factory.

Travel sources said all members of the first tour group to travel to Taiwan via Kinmen had been carefully screened and selected.

It was difficult to understand why Lin, known as the boss of a garment factory in China, would abscond, sources said.

Oliver Yu (游芳來), Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications, said attention must be paid to the motivations of those who have absconded and the frequency of such cases.

Since Taiwan began allowing more Chinese tourists on July 4, three absconding cases have been reported, including Lin’s case.

The other cases involved Chinese citizens traveling to Taiwan via a third location. On July 9, three Chinese women left their hotel without informing their group leader.

Two of them turned themselves in at a local police station later the following day, but the third one, identified as Guan Xiaoyin (關曉銀), remains at large.

On July 14, a man disappeared from his hotel after arriving with a tour group from a third location, but he was located the following day.

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