Back to list

MOFA unveils sticker on e-passport to cover Dulles Airport image

2018/01/24 14:00:05

Taipei, Jan. 24 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Wednesday unveiled a sticker with anti-counterfeit features to cover the error it made when issuing second generation e-passports, bearing the image of Dulles International Airport in Washington instead of Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

The sticker bears the image of Terminal One of Taoyuan International Airport, said Christine Tsai (蔡幼文), deputy director-general of the ministry's Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA), as she showed a passport with the sticker to local media at a press briefing.

The sticker which features security measures will in no way undermine the integrity of the e-passport as the ministry will inform customs agencies around the world of the decision, according to Tsai.

The sticker will be placed on the fifth page of the passport to cover the image of Dulles airport, she said, while calling on nationals not to remove the sticker as doing so will constitute defacement and potentially render the passport invalid as a travel document.

Tsai said MOFA will pay NT$6.6 million for the 220,000 passports it already officially accepted from the the Central Engraving and Printing Plant (CEPP) while the CEPP will pay NT$ 9.9 million for the 330,000 copies the ministry has yet to accept but are already being printed.

The ministry estimates all 550,000 copies of the next-generation biometric passports will be ready with the stickers in place by the end of January or early February.

Once all the new passports have been issued, which could happen around May, Tsai said, the ministry will issue new passports printed with an image of Taoyuan International Airport.

The passport fiasco was revealed on Dec. 26, 2017 in a local media report. At first, MOFA rejected the claim, but later said it was recalling all the new passports already issued and would return those already received to the CEPP.

On Dec. 27, BOCA chief Agnes Chen (陳華玉) stepped down to take responsibility for the oversight, while Taiwan's top envoy to Canada Kung Chung-chen (龔中誠), who was BOCA's chief when the new passport was designed, has been recalled and demoted.

Foreign Minister David Lee (李大維) later apologized to the public for the error and said he also takes responsibility for the fiasco.

Meanwhile, Tsai said Wednesday more former and incumbent BOCA officials had received demerits over the incident, including herself.

(By Joseph Yeh)
Enditem/AW