Kaohsiung police yesterday said they recently rescued eight foreign workers from a manpower brokerage agency that was keeping them confined illegally.
Seven of the eight victims, who were from Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, were locked inside the agency’s office in Kaohsiung, where the police also found other evidence related to the case, such as foreign workers’ passports, working visas and savings account passbooks, an official with the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office said.
The other victim was being held in a rooftop apartment.
Following the rescue of the foreign workers by police, some were deported as their visas had expired, while others were being cared for by the Kaohsiung County Government’s Labor Affairs Bureau.
Prosecutors said their office, in cooperation with the Kaohsiung County Government Police Bureau and the Kaohsiung City Reconnaissance Brigade, also summoned three executives from the agency for questioning. The executives were later released on bail.
The three individuals are also suspected of illegally forcing the victims to work overtime and reducing their salary by all possible means, prosecutors said.
The police search was sparked when earlier last week, the husband of a female foreign worker, who was the victim held in the rooftop apartment, reported to the Kaohsiung police that he had not been able to contact his wife for several days.
In other developments, a Taiwanese garment factory owner on Friday was sentenced to six months in jail for forcing three Muslim women on her staff to eat pork, but she could escape a prison sentence by paying a fine.
Chang Wen-ling (張雯琳) was sentenced for coercion after she confessed to forcing the three women, all from Indonesia, to eat the meat, which is considered taboo in Islam, according to the Banciao District Court in Taipei County.
However, in light of her confession and her decision to compensate the women, she will be allowed to pay a fine of NT$60,000 (US$1,875), a court spokesman said.
Chang admitted she wanted the three to eat pork “so they would have more energy to do work.”
The case caused an outcry in Taiwan and abroad when the three women complained that Chang threatened to cut their salaries if they refused to eat the meals she provided, including pork.
They also filed a complaint to the Taipei County Government, saying that they were overworked and had not been paid for around eight months.
There are about 350,000 foreign laborers in Taiwan, largely from Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.