Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Eleven of the 152 Vietnamese tourists who went missing in Taiwan late last week were temporarily detained for further investigation, according to the Việt Nam Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei.
Three were detained by police as they are accused of violating laws on Anti-Human Trafficking, Immigration and Labour Code of Taiwan (China).
Online newspaper vnexpress.net reported another three of the missing Vietnamese caught flights back to Việt Nam on Saturday and Monday before Taiwanese authorities imposed flight bans on the missing tourists.
The 152 Vietnamese tourists, divided into four groups, were passengers referred to HCM City-based International Holidays Travel Company Limited by two Hà Nội-based tourist companies: Twin Bright Company Limited and Golden Travel Trade and Tourism Company Limited.
Taiwanese company ETholiday asked the International Holidays Travel Company Limited to aid the tourists with their visa arrangements. When the tourists failed to show up to their tour destinations, ETholiday sent a report to police.
ETholiday said it received four groups totalling 153 Vietnamese travellers from December 21 to December 23, but by Sunday (December 23), 152 had disappeared from the groups. The only one accounted for at the time was a 17-year-old boy.
According to Hong Kong-based newspaper Apple Daily, surveillance footage and eyewitness accounts have surfaced showing the Vietnamese tourists left their hotels in Kaohsiung shortly after checking in and boarded waiting vehicles to make their getaway.
On Tuesday, Taiwan’s National Immigration Agency (NIA) announced its specialised operations brigade in Kaohsiung had set up a team to work with local police to track down the missing tourists.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said on Wednesday it is working to clarify the details of the incident.
In response to the incident, Minister of Culture, Sport and Tourism Nguyễn Ngọc Thiện on Wednesday ordered the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism and agencies to co-operate in handling the case.
At the monthly Government meeting on Thursday, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sport and Tourism Lê Quang Tùng said initial investigations helped them to detect a ring that allegedly sent Vietnamese abroad illegally through tourism.
Tùng said the ministry transferred relevant documents to the Ministry of Public Security for further investigation.
The ministry also worked with Taiwanese agencies to ensure Vietnamese tourists’ visits to Taiwan would not be affected in the near future as many tourism agreements were signed to carry Vietnamese visitors to Taiwan from now to the next Lunar New Year (that falls in early February).
At the meeting, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc asked the ministry to examine and report back about the incident within seven days. — VNS