Wed, Jan 03, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Public urged not to remove stickers from passports

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Andrew Lee explains the procedure for fixing misprinted biometric passports at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday urged people not to remove a sticker from new biometric passports that would cover a bungled image, saying that doing so could result in passengers not being allowed to board their flights.

The Central Engraving and Printing Plant is designing the sticker, which would feature Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and be placed on an illustration on the fourth and fifth pages of the passport that depicts the Washington Dulles International Airport, ministry spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) told a routine news conference in Taipei.

The sticker, which costs NT$30 each, is an alternative remedy announced by the ministry on Sunday, after its previous plan to reprint all 550,000 copies of the botched passport — which would have seen the total manufacturing cost of NT$220 million (US$7.43 million) lost — was criticized by the public as a waste of taxpayers’ money.

Tearing off the sticker, which is expected to be ready within a month, would be in violation of the Enforcement Rules of the Passport Act (護照條例施行細則), Lee said.

“According to Item 2, Article 25 of the act, competent government agencies are entitled to rescind the passports of people who make any modification or alteration or place stamps on the travel document,” he said.

Asked whether the ministry’s sticker scheme is contradictory given that it cracked down on a “Republic of Taiwan” passport sticker campaign launched by pro-Taiwanese independence groups in 2015, Lee said the ministry, as the competent authority over passports, has the power to place stickers on the travel document.

Lee also dismissed the concern that the ministry’s sticker could cause the passports to be rejected by foreign nations, saying that the final step when issuing a new passports is informing all other nations of its design.

In related news, Denis Chen (陳致豪), the designer of “the Republic of Taiwan” passport sticker on Saturday rolled out a new version of pro-Taiwanese independence stickers to criticize the passport mishap.

Chen’s new sticker, which is designed to be placed on the cover, reads: “Notice: This passport mistakenly included an image of Dulles International Airport inside and bears the wrong country’s name on the front cover.”

The sticker campaign in 2015 sought to cover “the Republic of China” title and national emblem on the passport on the grounds that it ceased to exist following its defeat in the Chinese Civil War in 1949.

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