Thu, Oct 17, 2019 - Page 4 News List

6 Taiwanese suspected of trafficking, Indonesia says

UNIVERSITY PLOY:Forty Indonesians were reportedly offered scholarships and jobs, but ended up working six days a week and attending classes only on Sundays

Staff writer, with CNA, JAKARTA

At least six Taiwanese are believed to be involved in a human trafficking ring that sent 40 Indonesians to work illegally in Taiwan under the pretext that they would be studying, Indonesian police said on Monday.

The Indonesian National Police on Wednesday last week said that 40 Indonesians were offered scholarships and jobs if they studied at Chienkuo Technology University in Changhua County, the Jakarta Post reported.

The Indonesians arrived in Taiwan on Oct. 27, 2017.

Two of them filed reports with Indonesian police after not receiving the pay they were promised after 18 months of living in Taiwan, the police said.

Indonesian police named two Indonesian suspects who helped the victims enroll and charged each of them US$2,473 in administrative fees.

Joko, a police officer on the task force in charge of the case, told reporters on Sunday that they believe at least six Taiwanese are involved in the scheme.

The two victims told police they were interviewed before they traveled to Taiwan by six Taiwanese using an interpreter, Joko said, adding that the Indonesian police are hoping to share information with their Taiwanese counterparts.

The two were originally told they would be studying at the university in Changhua and would receive bachelor degrees.

However, on arriving in Taiwan, they were forced to work from Monday through Saturday, from 1pm to 9pm, and were only allowed to attend Chinese classes at the university on Sundays, Joko said.

They worked at three different factories, arranged by Taiwanese brokers from Shixin International Human Resources, Joko said.

The victims were 20 to 24 years old, and in some cases their parents borrowed money to send them to Taiwan, said Wibowo, another officer investigating the case.

Police would assist the pair in filing a lawsuit next week and more victims could follow suit, he added.

Taiwan’s representative office in Indonesia said that the Ministry of Education began investigating the case in June, after receiving complaints from a group of Indonesians. It did not elaborate.

Department of Technological and Vocational Education Director Yang Yu-hui (楊玉惠) in June said that the ministry had found that at least 19 Indonesian students at Chienkuo were working 48 to 54 hours per week, more than double the maximum of 20 hours a week that international students are legally allowed to work.

Yang said at the time that the ministry would fine the university.

The ministry handed the case over to prosecutors to investigate.

University secretary-general Liu Pin-lin (劉柄麟) said that the 40 Indonesians had registered to study at the school in October last year, in three batches.

Twenty-six later left the school and returned to Indonesia “as they could not adapt to life in Taiwan,” he said.

Liu denied the university had done anything wrong, saying that the school had taken good care of the students.

The university is cooperating with Changhua District prosecutors, he added.

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