CORONAVIRUS/Sailor's travel ban lifted after he pays fine for violating quarantine

01/14/2021 09:16 PM
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Pixabay image for illustrative purpose only (source: Pixabay.com)
Pixabay image for illustrative purpose only (source: Pixabay.com)

Kaohsiung, Jan. 14 (CNA) The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) on Thursday said it had lifted restrictions on international travel it placed on a Taiwanese sailor, after he paid a NT$1 million (US$35,696) fine for violating his home quarantine in November.

The sailor, surnamed Ho (何), returned to Kaohsiung on Nov. 10 last year after working aboard a cargo ship that had stopped in the Philippines, the Kaohsiung branch of the MOJ's Administrative Enforcement Agency said.

Between Nov. 11-15, Ho violated his mandatory 14-day quarantine by making daily trips to purchase meals and beverages, pick up medicine for a chronic illness, and even visited a used car dealer, while leaving his cell phone at home to avoid detection, the agency said.

After Kaohsiung authorities discovered the quarantine violations, the agency said, Ho was fined NT$1 million and barred from leaving the country.

Those restrictions were in place for more than a month and a half, until Ho paid the NT$1 million fine in full on Thursday, and was given permission to leave the country on his next sea voyage, the agency said.

In a separate case on Thursday, Pingtung County's health bureau said it had fined a resident NT$700,000 for violating the terms of his quarantine.

The man, who was not named, arrived in Taiwan from China on Dec. 31 last year, but failed to return home, traveling instead to another county without notifying his family, said Chang Hsiu-chun (張秀君), the bureau's deputy director.

After being missing for two days, the man returned to Pingtung on Jan. 2, and was placed in a government-designated facility for the remainder of his quarantine, Chang said.

On Thursday, Chang said, the bureau fined the man NT$600,000 for failing to report for home quarantine within 24 hours but less than 72 hours, and NT$100,000 for failing to take a designated taxi for quarantine-bound travelers.

Both fines were implemented under Taiwan's Special Act on COVID-19 Prevention, Relief and Restoration, she said.

To date, Pingtung County has imposed NT$5.33 million in fines for 30 quarantine violations, of which NT$1.12 million has already been paid, the health bureau said.

(By Hung Hsueh-kuang, Kuo Chih-hsuan and Matthew Mazzetta)

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