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Taiwanese passports could become attractive to human smugglers
Central News Agency
2012-10-03 04:59 PM
Taipei, Oct. 3 (CNA) The Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) warned Wednesday of a potential threat of Taiwanese passports becoming more attractive to human smugglers now that Taiwan is to be included in the U.S. visa-waiver program. Even though Taiwan uses electronic passports that are difficult to forge, the public should take good care of their passports and should not sell personal information to human smugglers, said Lo Li-fan, director of the CIB's international division, at a press conference organized by the legislative caucus of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT). According to the Passport Act, providing personal information for forging illegal documents is a criminal offense. Violators will face a prison term of up to five years. Chen Chien-cheng, deputy commander of the National Immigration Agency's Border Affairs Corps, said the existence of forged documents could affect Taiwan's membership status in the U.S. visa-waiver program. The U.S. conducts biannual inspections of its visa-waiver members before deciding whether to continue carrying out such treatment. Greece was once stripped of its visa-waiver privileges, Chen noted. Taiwan's e-Gate system has been highly accredited by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Chen said, adding that the National Immigration Agency will step up efforts on border controls to make sure Taiwan retains its membership in the U.S. visa-waiver program. On misgivings among the public that Taiwan got visa-waiver treatment by lifting its ban on imports of U.S. beef containing ractopamine, KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng downplayed the issue, saying that the U.S. is already the 129th country to provide visa-waiver treatment to Taiwan. He added that visa-waiver programs now cover about 97.72 percent of the destinations most popular among Taiwanese travelers. (By He Meng-kuei, Liu Chien-pang and Ann Chen)
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