Immigration officials say that 11 Vietnamese found

Staff writer, with CNA

Fri, Dec 28, 2018 - Page 2

The National Immigration Agency yesterday said it had found 11 of 148 Vietnamese who went missing after arriving in Taiwan last week on tourist visas.

As of 5pm yesterday, four men and seven women had been found, the agency said.

Three were found in Chiayi, Changhua and Hsinchu counties on Wednesday, while four handed themselves in to police in Taoyuan’s Jhongli District (中壢) yesterday, it said.

Another was arrested by police in Nantou County after a tip-off, said Liao Wei-yuan (廖維元), deputy captain of the agency’s Southern Taiwan Administrative Corps.

The agency said the Vietnamese were part of an investigation by the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office into alleged breaches of the Human Trafficking Prevention Act (人口販運防制法), the Immigration Act (入出國及移民法) and the Employment Service Act (就業服務法).

The 11 were among more than 100 people who traveled to Taiwan in groups and went missing after they arrived in Kaohsiung on Friday last week and Sunday.

The agency previously said that 152 were unaccounted for, but yesterday said that it had established contact with one, while three others had already left the country, leaving the number at 148.

The Vietnamese were allowed in under a government-funded program that grants visas to groups of five or more visitors with Vietnamese, Indonesian, Burmese, Cambodian, Lao or Indian passports, as long as the trip is organized by a “quality travel agency” recognized by the Tourism Bureau or if they are in company-sponsored groups.

The government has said it would improve screening of applicants to avoid such incidents from happening again.