A “12-second pass through” system at the nation’s main airports went into operation yesterday, as unmanned electronic identification gates, or “e-gates,” were simultaneously opened at Taipei International Airport (Songshan), Taiwan Taoyaun International Airport and Kaohsiung International Airport, local media reported yesterday.
The e-gates are now available for inbound and outbound Republic of China passport holders aged 14 and older and at least 140cm tall at the three airports, expediting the immigration process, adding that passengers could still elect to go through manned checkpoints.
At a ceremony marking the introduction of the e-gate service, the National Immigration Agency invited Tseng Chien-hsun (曾建勳), who bears a striking resemblance to Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), to impersonate Wang.
Tseng attempted to pass through the scanner with Wang’s actual passport, but was detected by the system’s biometric detection technology as an impersonator and was trapped between the gate’s doors.
Tseng then admitted he was only a substitute and showed his own passport and passed through the e-gate.
After the demonstration, the agency arranged for a mysterious bearded man to attempt to go through the gate to illustrate the e-gate’s ability to identify people wearing disguises and to showcase the e-gate’s ability to allow fingerprinting when facial recognition is impossible or difficult, the Chinese-language United Daily News reported.
The gate denied the bearded traveler passage on the grounds the facial recognition was impeded and instead it requested that the person use fingerprinting, which yielded a match and allowed him to pass.
The mysterious person later turned out to be National Immigration Agency Director-General Hsieh Li-kung (謝立功).
According to Hsieh, amid a rise on the use of cosmetic facial surgery, Taiwanese who have undergone facial surgery should look into whether they need a new passport or they should go through manned stations.