Taiwan’s border control agency and the Ministry of Education (MOE) were censured in a Control Yuan report yesterday, on the completion of a probe into a foreign teacher working in Taiwan who was found to have a criminal record, and had been expelled from two other countries on sex-related offenses.
Communication with foreign countries indicated the teacher in question is a male British citizen, referred to as “M,” and that the UK’s national law-enforcement body the National Crime Agency (NCA) had issued a warning about his background, Control Yuan member Chi Hui-jung (紀惠容) said.
Chi initiated the probe after receiving complaints in April last year of alleged sexual offenses “M” perpetrated in Taiwan and other countries. She uncovered instances of negligence, dereliction of duty and misconduct by the MOE and the National Immigration Agency (NIA), in charge of border control, entry and exit protocols by foreign passport-holders and the monitoring of legal contraventions by foreigners.
Photo: Hsieh Chun-lin, Taipei Times
After communicating with foreign authorities, Chi said records indicated that “M” was expelled from China for having sex with an underage female, and expelled from Guatemala for the unlawful action of looking at a female student’s bare chest and other alleged sexual offences. These contraventions allegedly committed by “M” were confirmed by the NCA, which passed on the information to authorities in Taiwan.
The NIA’s entry and exit data indicate that “M” first came to Taiwan 18 years ago. While in Taiwan he worked as a private junior-high school teacher, and as a tutor at cram schools.
However, Chi said that records are incomplete and that she could not track down the exact time and places that “M” had been employed.
After the probe was initiated, “M” left Taiwan in May last year and returned to the UK, but was placed under criminal investigation by the NCA upon his arrival.
“This man held teaching jobs in Taiwanese schools for many years and therefore had close contact with young people and children. How many of them were at risk of his criminal behavior?” Chi said, adding that “it is a big concern that our government agencies have no specific records on the times and places where “M” had held teaching jobs.”
Chi reprimanded NIA and MOE officials for what she said was negligence, dereliction of duty and misconduct, saying that they needed to take corrective measures, as the Control Yuan is the watchdog body for probes into misconduct and illegal breaches by government officials and civil servants.
“The NIA had first received complaints about ‘M’ years ago and it only sent an officer to talk to ‘M’ and his employer, recording ‘no legal contraventions found,’ before closing the investigation,” Chi said.
“Only when we initiated a probe, the NIA contacted the domestic police agency, communicating with UK authorities and other countries on ‘M’s’ past criminal records,” Chi said, adding that the MOE neither had an adequate registration system, nor did it the requisite ability to track foreign teachers’ employment history.
“Twenty-one percent or white-collar jobs held by foreigners in Taiwan are teachers, and youngsters and children are at risk from those that have a criminal background,” Chi said.
A proportion of them are not qualified and do not have a teacher’s certification, but employers have circumvented the rules by applying for “education advisor” or “consultant on school course materials” visas for their foreign teachers, which prevents them from working as teachers by law.
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