Wed, Mar 06, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Four charged, 27 more wanted after tourists absconded

Staff writer, with CNA

The Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday indicted four people, including two Vietnamese, on charges ranging from document forgery to human trafficking after the disappearance of 148 Vietnamese who arrived late last year on tourist visas.

Prosecutors also issued warrants for the arrest of 27 other suspects in the high-profile case, which involved members of four tour groups who disappeared soon after their arrival at airports in Kaohsiung and Taoyuan from Vietnam on Dec. 21 and Dec. 23.

According to the indictment, a Vietnamese working for a travel agency in Hanoi, identified only by her surname, Mai, recruited 20 Vietnamese seeking to work in Taiwan, charged them each between US$1,000 and US$3,000 for visas, and arranged a group tour.

After acquiring electronic visas for her clients, Mai led a tour group of 19 Vietnamese to Kaohsiung on Dec. 21, after another tour group had arrived in Taichung on Dec. 15. All of the tourists went missing after they left the airports, the indictment said.

Mai and her Taiwanese husband, surnamed Hsiao (蕭), were found to have hidden two of the Vietnamese at their home in New Taipei City for several days and had arranged for another to work as a courier in Taoyuan.

Mai and Hsiao were indicted on charges of document forgery, hiding outlaws and breaches of the Employment Service Act (就業服務法).

In a related case, a Taiwanese expatriate in Vietnam surnamed Cheng (鄭) and a Vietnamese working for a travel agency in Hanoi, identified only by his surname, Nguyen, were charged with recruiting 33 Vietnamese and arranging for them to fly to Taiwan on Dec. 23 for work at a cost of US$1,000 to US$2,500 each.

Cheng was charged with document forgery and hiding criminal suspects, while Nguyen was indicted on the same charges, as well as breaching the Human Trafficking Prevention Act (人口販運防制法) after he allegedly forced several women into prostitution in Taoyuan.

According to National Immigration Agency data, 92 of the 148 missing Vietnamese tourists had been apprehended or had turned themselves in as of Feb. 19.

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