The Tourism Bureau yesterday confirmed that 152 Vietnamese tourists had been reported missing after entering the nation through Kaohsiung on a special tourism visa last week.
The tourists had joined tours arranged by the ETHoliday travel agency, with one group arriving on Friday and three on Sunday, the bureau said.
The tours had 153 Vietnamese, 152 of which left the groups after their arrival in Taiwan, the bureau said, adding that ETHoliday quickly reported the incident.
Given the severity of the situation, the bureau said it has instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to stop granting visas to Vietnamese travelers in ETHoliday tour groups.
The tourists were able to travel to Taiwan through the ministry’s “Kuan Hung Pilot Project,” an electronic visa program designed to increase the number of quality tour groups visiting from India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, the bureau said, adding that these countries are part of the government’s New Southbound Policy.
The project, which was launched in 2015, allows travelers from the six countries on package tours of at least five people to apply for tourism visas without having to present financial statements, the bureau said.
Over the past three years, about 150 tourists arriving through the project have been reported missing, bureau statistics showed.
This was the largest group of runaway tourists since 2015, it said.
Only one Vietnamese tourist on an ETHoliday tour in the past three years has left the group and been unaccounted for, bureau statistics showed.
The travel agency in Vietnam that assists ETHoliday in forming the tour groups has lost tourists 10 times, but only one or two people each time.
The bureau said that tourists found later by immigration officials would be deported at ETHoliday’s expense.
In other developments, the number of tourists traveling between Kinmen and China’s Fujian Province via the “small three links” is expected to reach 1.85 million this year, up from 1.78 million, the Maritime Port Bureau said yesterday, adding that this would be a record high since the links opened in 2001.
The port authority said it has had 12 cases of tourists traveling via the links who carried in pork products from China without reporting them to customs, adding that they were fined because of an African swine fever outbreak, but before the government raised the fine to a minimum of NT$200,000.
LONG-TERM ALLIANCE: Using the company’s virtual development tools would help reduce cost and spur innovation at the research institute, an official said The Taiwan Semiconductor Research Institute (TSRI) has partnered with Synopsys Taiwan to accelerate the development of next-generation semiconductors, with researchers being allowed to use the chip design company’s simulation tools, the National Applied Research Laboratories said yesterday. The institute is one of eight laboratories of the national research agency. The institute has signed a contract with Synopsys that allows researchers to use its simulation software — Sentaurus TCAD and Quantum ATK — free of charge, the agency said in a news release. The Synopsys Web site describes Sentaurus TCAD as an advanced 1D, 2D and 3D process simulator for developing and optimizing chip
MONITORED BY JETS: Chinese aircraft included Y-20 aerial refueling aircraft, suggesting that China refueled its short-range jets during flight The air force scrambled again yesterday to warn away 27 Chinese aircraft that entered its air defense identification zone (ADIZ), the Ministry of National Defense said, the latest increase in tensions across the sensitive Taiwan Strait. Taiwan has complained for a year or more of repeated missions by China’s air force near the nation, often in the southwestern part of its ADIZ, close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島). Over a four-day period beginning on Oct. 1, when China marked its national day, Taiwan said that nearly 150 Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) military aircraft entered its ADIZ, not territorial
DESTABILIZING: Beijing’s efforts to choke Taiwan, pressure its friends and hamper its democracy are a threat to the world, AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk said China’s provocative military activities near Taiwan are destabilizing and risk “miscalculation,” American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Sandra Oudkirk said yesterday, reiterating the US’ objection to any unilateral changes to the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait. Oudkirk made the remarks in a speech at the annual conference of the Association of International Relations in Taipei. “In the Indo-Pacific region, America’s effort to resolve and manage differences with the leadership of the People’s Republic of [PRC] faces distinct challenges,” she said, referencing a range of actions by China that she said run counter to the shared values and interests of the
EXTRADITION POSSIBLE? The suspect, who is quarantining upon arrival in Xiamen, is accused of killing a coffee trader on a street near his house in Sindian District The suspect in an execution-style murder of a businessman in New Taipei City’s Sindian District (新店) has fled to China and officials are negotiating his extradition, the New Taipei City Police Department said on Tuesday. The suspect, surnamed Huang (黃), took a flight from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 2pm on that day to Xiamen, where he is staying in a quarantine hotel, as required by Chinese COVID-19 regulations, the department said. Investigators accuse Huang of shooting dead a local coffee trader surnamed He (何) on a street near his residence when he was returning from dropping off his daughter at her