Taiwan busts resident permit forgery ring, arrests 38 suspects

08/15/2022 03:56 PM
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Photo courtesy of the National Immigration Agency
Photo courtesy of the National Immigration Agency

Taipei, Aug. 15 (CNA) The National Immigration Agency (NIA) said Monday that it has cracked a criminal operation that was allegedly making and selling fake Taiwan resident permits and other forms of identification, and 38 suspects have been arrested.

The 38 people, including 34 buyers of the fake documents, were arrested at intervals over the past few months and have been referred to the Taipei District Prosecutor's Office for investigation into suspected document forgery, fraud, and organized crime, the NIA said in a statement.

The NIA said it was alerted to the suspected illegal activities when it became aware of social media advertisements offering to "make, sell, and mail out" Republic of China (Taiwan) identification cards, resident permits, and national health insurance cards.

Subsequent NIA investigations found that the ads were being posted by a forgery ring run by an undocumented Vietnamese migrant worker identified only as Mei (梅), according to the statement.

Video courteys of the National Immigration Agency

Mei, who is in her 30s, was allegedly running the criminal operation from a rented apartment in Taipei, along with three other suspects -- another undocumented Vietnamese and a transnational married couple, the NIA said.

The four suspects, one of whom is a Taiwanese man, were allegedly forging the documents with the use of high-end computers, photocopiers, and laminators, the NIA said.

Mei was allegedly charging between NT$3,000 (US$99) and NT$8,000 for each document, and over a two-year period the gang had raked in some NT$10 million from a large number of undocumented migrant workers, the NIA said.

The four suspects were under surveillance for about eight months, and they were arrested on July 28 during an NIA raid on the apartment they had been allegedly using as a forgery base, according to the statement.

Photo courtesy of the National Immigration Agency
Photo courtesy of the National Immigration Agency

During the eight-month period, 34 undocumented migrant workers, who had obtained illegal documents from the suspects, were also arrested, the NIA said.

In its statement, the NIA issued a warning that the maximum fine for knowingly employing an undocumented migrant worker is NT$750,000.

According to the latest Ministry of Labor statistics, there are 70,331 undocumented migrant workers in Taiwan, 39,927 of whom are from Vietnam.

(By Huang Li-yun and William Yen)

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