Rights worker slams ‘White Terror’ NIA

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Sep 08, 2013 - Page 3

Taiwan Association for Human Rights specialist Chiu Ee-ling (邱伊翎) yesterday accused the National Immigration Agency (NIA) of regressing to White Terror-era tactics as immigration officers at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport questioned her for nearly 20 minutes over a sticker on her passport cover.

When she was leaving from the airport to Japan yesterday, Chiu was stopped by an immigration officer at the passport control counter and taken to an office to be questioned because she had a sticker saying: “Taiwan is my country” on her passport cover, she wrote on her Facebook page.

“I was questioned for nearly 20 minutes. When I asked the officers which law I had violated, they said they had to check, but they couldn’t find any,” Chiu said. “Are we back in the White Terror era?”

The officers, who declined to give their names, let her go after not finding her in violation of any laws. Chiu asked to file a complaint, but the officers said they had no more complaint forms left, she added.

“I then asked for their names, but they refused to answer and asked me what right I had to file a complaint,” Chiu said.

“I don’t see any problem [with the sticker],” NIA Deputy Director-General Ho Jung-tsun (何榮村) said when asked by the Taipei Times by telephone to comment on the incident, adding that he has not been appraised of details of the incident and so could not comment further.

Chen Chien-cheng (陳建成), deputy director-general of the NIA’s Border Affairs Corps at Taoyuan airport, said having a sticker on a passport cover is not a problem as long as it does not obscure anything.

“According to my understanding, Chiu put a pink sticker over the front cover of her passport.It doesn’t matter what’s written on the sticker, it is only problematic if it makes it difficult for the officer to tell whether the document is authentic,” Chen said. “In order not to block the line of people waiting, Chiu was taken away from the immigration counter.”

Chen said Chiu was allowed to leave after officers verified she was the owner of the passport and that he had not yet been briefed on her asking to file a complaint.