Authorities raid travel operators amid visa scams involving Chinese

12/17/2019 06:19 PM
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Chang Wei (張瑋)/CNA file phot
Chang Wei (張瑋)/CNA file phot

Taipei, Dec. 17 (CNA) Taipei prosecutors raided six travel agencies Tuesday for suspected involvement in document forgery that allowed Chinese government officials to enter Taiwan on the pretext of attending short-term exchange programs.

The raids were carried out on the six local establishments, including the Huaxia Dadi Travel Service Co. (華夏大地) run by Chang Wei (張瑋), the son of Chang An-le (張安樂), who founded the China Unification Promotion Party.

Chang An-le, also known as "White Wolf," used to be head of one of Taiwan's top criminal gangs, the Bamboo Union. He has also been vocal as an avid advocate of unification with China.

According to the Taipei District Prosecutors Office, the companies were found to have helped some 2,000 Chinese government officials to enter Taiwan, many of whom are active in pro-unification work.

The case only came into the spotlight Dec. 12 when prosecutors said they had detained a retired reporter surnamed Hung (洪) and nine other suspects for their roles in the case.

The six travel agencies raided Tuesday are believed to be among some 30 travel agencies accused of helping over 5,000 Chinese government officials enter Taiwan between January 2017 and June 2019.

The prosecutors said the authorities conducted the raids after a tipoff that Hung had issued invitations through a civic association he established for Chinese nationals to visit Taiwan for religious, business and cultural purposes.

The travel agencies are believed to have falsified the documents for Chinese citizens to apply to the National Immigration Agency for entry permits to Taiwan.

Initial investigations indicate that as many as 30 travel agencies are involved in the scam, each of which was paid NT$2,000 per visitor by Hung.

After Tuesday's raids, the Taipei District Prosecutors Office said it has summoned the six travel operators for questioning, including Chang Wei's wife, who works for Huaxia Dadi.

(By Hsiao Po-wen and Ko Lin)

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