Sat, Dec 29, 2018 - Page 2 News List

Six more tourists found as new NIA director installed

Staff writer, with CNA

Chief Liu Ruei-fu of the National Immigration Agency’s New Taipei City Special Task Force speaks to reporters yesterday in Taipei confirming that another five missing Vietnamese tourists have been found.

Photo: CNA

Seventeen of the 148 Vietnamese tourists who disappeared shortly after arriving in Taiwan last week have been located, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) said yesterday.

As of midnight on Thursday, 17 of the missing tourists, who arrived in four groups in Kaohsiung and Tainan on Friday last week and Sunday, were found, while the other 131 remained unaccounted for, the agency said in a statement.

The 17 were found in Chiayi, Nantou, Changhua and Hsinchu counties, in addition to Taoyuan and New Taipei City, the agency said, adding that initial investigations showed that they had left their tours to meet friends or relatives, or to look for a job.

A task force set up by the NIA and National Police Agency is investigating if crime syndicates, including traffickers, were behind the disappearances, the statement said.

The Vietnamese were visiting Taiwan under a government initiative launched in November 2015 that allows electronic visa application for tour groups of at least five people traveling on Indonesian, Vietnamese, Burmese, Cambodian, Laotian or Indian passports.

Group tourists are eligible to make such applications as long as they are organized by “quality travel agencies” recognized by the Tourism Bureau or company-sponsored groups.

Premier William Lai (賴清德) yesterday called for a thorough review of the program under which more than 500 Vietnamese arriving on tourist visas have gone missing.

The Vietnamese National Administration of Tourism has suspended the license of International Holidays Trading Travel, the agency that handled the 148 tourists’ visa applications, and has begun investigating the case, Vietnamese media reported.

In related news, the Executive Yuan yesterday named National Police Agency Deputy Director-General Chiu Feng-kuang (邱豐光) as the new NIA head and a takeover ceremony took place later in the day.

Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) in a statement praised the four-decade law enforcement veteran for his contributions to keeping society safe.

With Chiu in charge, the NIA would continue to safeguard the nation’s borders and security, respect all cultures and protect the rights of migrants, Hsu added.

The position was vacated by Jeff Yang (楊家駿) on Dec. 12, when he was transferred to the position of senior counselor at the NIA after allegedly misappropriating funds.

Yang has denied the allegations and is under investigation.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top