A Taiwanese man, fearing deportation of his Indonesian wife, hid her and their three children at home for seven years, local media reported yesterday.
Local authorities from Nantou County’s Puli Township (埔里) uncovered the secret of a man surnamed Liu, 43, in August of last year. Liu, a noodle maker, met his wife, an Indonesian of Chinese descent identified by her surname Chen, 14 years ago when she was visiting on a tourist visa, but overstayed to work illegally in Taiwan, the United Daily News said.
Liu and Chen met, fell in love and got married, but did not register with authorities, fearing she would be deported, which would put her on a blacklist, preventing her return for three years.
Liu hid his wife and three kids — two sons and one daughter now aged 11, eight and five — for seven years in a second-floor room of a rented apartment building with the curtains drawn.
Last August a local official heard a child crying at Liu’s home. Fearing it was a case of domestic violence, he knocked and found the wife and children.
Seeing the stranger, Liu’s wife and kids crawled to a corner of the second-floor room, shaking in fear. The children looked pale and could not talk properly because of isolation from human contact, the paper said.
Even when they were watching TV at night, when the TV showed a policeman Liu’s wife would run to a corner and tremble. Their kids sometimes would scream in their dreams: “Don’t arrest my mom!”
Local authorities sympathized with Liu, sending the children to school and a nursery, as they were discussing the case with immigration officials, while neighbors donated money and food.
“An immigration official will escort Liu and his wife to Indonesia to get married there, and then return to Taiwan with them,” Shang Yu-chun from the Puli Township Council said.
“Because of years of isolation, Liu’s wife is withdrawn and suffers from depression. Upon her return from Indonesia, we will take her to hospital for psychiatric evaluation and give her treatment if it is needed,” the official added.