Sun, Jan 11, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Airport ‘glitch’: eight snuck through

By Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Eight individuals under travel restriction snuck in and out of the country last week when the National Immigration Agency (NIA) computer system malfunctioned for 36 hours, NIA head Hsieh Li-gong (謝立功) said yesterday.

Hsie apologized and promised to attribute demerits within one week.

None of the eight people were high-profile individuals, Hsieh said, adding that the NIA would cooperate with law enforcement to bring the eight to justice.

The five individuals who fled the country include two people under watch for tax evasion, a runaway conscript, one put under travel restriction by a local prosecutor’s office and a wanted fugitive.

The three who entered the country included two fugitives and one on the prosecutor’s watch list, the NIA said.

One Vietnamese was also reported missing when he failed to complete the final step to exit the country.

“We have our own channels to locate the man, but he is not considered an illegal alien because his visa is valid until September,” Hsieh said at a press conference yesterday.

The two tax evaders would be asked to pay up their outstanding dues next time they enter the country.

The family of the draft dodger has been contacted and all overseas embassies and representative offices have been notified.

Hsieh said the 36-hour computer glitch on Monday and Tuesday was the result of “faulty hard drives.”

During the computer crash, immigration officers had to note the personal information of 46,921 travelers by hand.

The system was down again for 10 minutes on Thursday.

As a short-term solution, all Internet connections at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport will be upgraded from 10Mbps to 20Mbps by next month.

A new high-speed hard drive will be installed in both terminals by July and the agency plans to have a new computer system in four to six years, the NIA said.

Also See: Airport ‘glitch’ poses security risk

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