The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has advised against traveling to South Africa due to poor public security and warned of telephone scams targeting overseas Taiwanese.
The ministry issued an “orange” travel alert for South Africa at the end of last month due to an increase in cholera cases, rolling power cuts and deteriorating law and order.
South African Police Service statistics showed that 6,289 people were murdered in the first quarter of this year, up 3.4 percent from the same period last year, Department of West Asian and African Affairs Deputy Director Wu Cheng-wei (吳正偉) told a news conference in Taipei yesterday.
Photo: screen grab from a Ministry of Foreign Affairs Web cast
There are an average of 13 carjacking, robbery or theft cases every hour in South Africa, which also indicates a deterioration in law and order, Wu said.
The Taipei Liaison Office in the Republic of South Africa recently received reports from a number of overseas Taiwanese, who said they had received suspicious phone calls and were asked to provide their bank account information or transfer money, he said.
The callers pretended to be staff from the Chinese embassy in South Africa or South African government or law enforcement agencies, Wu said.
The callers said that there were documents or packages waiting for them to collect, that their taxes were in arrears or they were involved in criminal cases in China, he said.
Wu urged people to be aware of these fraudulent practices and to refrain from transferring money or providing account information over the phone.
In case of an emergency, Taiwanese in South Africa can call the local liaison office at 082-802-9380 or the ministry’s emergency number +886-800-085-095, he said.
He also warned about an increase in employment scams in the Caucasus region, where some Taiwanese were recruited to engage in illegal work such as telecom fraud.
Groups have lured Taiwanese with promises of high salaries, then isolated and held them prisoner once they were abroad, he said.
The ministry urged jobseekers to look into the background of the companies they are interested in working for and check whether they are legally registered locally, he said.
When encountering emergencies in countries where Taiwan has no representative office, people can call the emergency line to seek help, he said.
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