Consular affairs chief resigns over passport fiasco - Focus Taiwan

Consular affairs chief resigns over passport fiasco

Head of the Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA) Agnes Chen (陳華玉)
Head of the Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA) Agnes Chen (陳華玉)

Taipei, Dec. 27 (CNA) Head of the Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA) Agnes Chen (陳華玉) stepped down Wednesday amid a furor over an error on the newly updated Taiwan e-passport, which bears an image of Washington's Dulles International Airport rather than Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

"On behalf of BOCA, I apologize to the public for the major oversight and will take full administrative responsibility for the incident," Chen said in a brief statement at a press conference.

Chen said she had met with Foreign Minister David Lee (李大維) the previous night and submitted her resignation to him. According to MOFA spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章), the foreign minister accepted Chen's resignation Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, 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, Andrew Lee said.

The foreign ministry is still trying to determine who else should be held responsible for the passport design error, and other heads could roll, according to chief of MOFA's Department of Personnel Kuo Su-ching (郭素卿).

The issue came to light Tuesday in a report by a local media organization, which said netizens had commented on the error, pointing out that one of the images on the pages of the new e-passport was that of Dulles International Airport.

At first, the foreign ministry rejected the claims, but later said it was recalling all 285 of the new passports that had been issued so far and would return the 200,000 that had already been printed to Central Engraving and Printing Plant (CEPP), the contract printer.

CEPP, meanwhile, had said it will bear the cost of printing 200,000 new passports with the correct image of Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, according to MOFA.

CEPP is still calculating how much the reprint will cost exactly, said MOFA, adding that the first print was around NT$80 million (US$2.67 million).

(By Joseph Yeh)


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