6 suspected Vietnamese stowaways escape from quarantine

Taipei,  Six of 31 suspected Vietnamese stowaways aboard a Taiwanese fishing boat in waters off Pingtung County who were arrested Saturday have escaped from a quarantine center in Taichung, Taiwan’s Coast Guard Administration (CGA) said Tuesday.

Acting on a tip-off, coast guard officials in Lienchiang County seized the Taiwanese boat in waters off the coast of Xiaoliuqiu Island near Pingtung County that was carrying 31 people from Vietnam.

Two Taiwanese suspects thought to be involved in a human smuggling ring were also arrested.

After questioning, the 31 Vietnamese were sent to two government-designated quarantine facilities in Taichung as part of the government’s efforts to curb the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

However, Coast Guard personnel found Tuesday that six of the Vietnamese being held in a quarantine center in Taichung’s Chingshui had fled by destroying the metal window bars of the facility, according to Hsu Ji-ling (許績陵), deputy head of the CGA.

The CGA has formed a task force and has reported the case to the police, Hsu said.

None of the Vietnamese displayed symptoms of COVID-19, the CGA said, while calling on the public to call the 118 or 110 hotline if they witness suspicious people or activities.

The six Vietnamese were part of a group that came to Taiwan for work between 2008 and 2016 but absconded from their places of work. They were deported back to their home country between 2013 and 2019 but later tried to return, the CGA said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel