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The Yilan District Prosecutors Office has prosecuted a transnational criminal organization involved in the buying and selling of Taiwanese passports.

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  • Last updated:2024-04-12
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The Yilan District Prosecutors Office in Taiwan recently received intelligence from the Criminal Investigation Bureau of the National Police Agency under the Ministry of the Interior, indicating that several Taiwanese passports were unlawfully used by unidentified Chinese nationals to enter and exit European countries during specific periods between October and November of the 112th year of the Republic of China. It was assessed that transnational human trafficking syndicates exploit the advantage of Taiwanese passports, which grant visa-free entry to 110 countries worldwide, to engage in activities such as counterfeiting or impersonating Taiwanese passports to conceal their true identities for illicit entry and exit.

Upon receiving this information, Chief Prosecutor Chen Yilong of the Yilan District Prosecutors Office commanded a joint task force comprising the Criminal Investigation Bureau of the Ministry of the Interior and the Yilan County Government Police Bureau. The task force convened multiple meetings to discuss the case, collected various pieces of intelligence, and analyzed data from surveillance recordings, telecommunications, passport applications, and other sources to identify the individuals involved.

On March 6, 113, pursuant to a search warrant issued by the Yilan District Court, residences of suspects surnamed Zheng and Lai in Yilan County were searched, and they were apprehended. Subsequently, the investigation was expanded, leading to the arrest and summons of additional suspects surnamed Chi and Lin, as well as other accomplices.

Following overnight interrogations by the prosecutors, it was determined that the defendants Zheng and Lai were suspected of violating Article 3, paragraph 1 of the Organized Crime Prevention Act and Article 29, paragraph 1 of the Passport Act regarding the initiation of a criminal organization and the sale of passports, respectively. The court approved their detention and denied them access to visitors. The other defendants were each released on bail amounts of NT$30,000 and NT$50,000, respectively, pending further investigation. The case concluded with the prosecution filing charges today and requesting the court to impose severe penalties on the main suspects.

The Office emphasizes that trafficking in Taiwanese passports is a serious offense. Apart from exploiting vulnerabilities in border control of various countries, individuals with malicious intent using unlawfully obtained Taiwanese passports to enter European countries may also pose threats to national security. Such activities undermine Taiwan's long-cultivated image as a responsible global citizen. According to the Passport Act, the maximum penalty for this offense is seven years of imprisonment and a fine of up to NT$700,000. The public is urged not to engage in such activities, as they will face legal consequences. The prosecution and police will continue to enhance international intelligence exchange to combat similar illicit activities involving the misuse of Taiwanese passports in various countries, contributing to the fulfillment of Taiwan's obligations as a responsible global citizen.

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