Ex-immigration clerk indicted


TAIPEI, CNA

A former clerk with the Bureau of Immigration, which was superseded by the National Immigration Agency at the beginning of this year, was indicted Monday on charges of colluding with “snakeheads” in smuggling Chinese prostitutes into Taiwan in exchange for cash rewards.

The Taipei Prosecutor’s Office charged Lee Juo-ling with corruption and violations of the statute governing civilian exchanges across the Taiwan Strait on suspicion that she had offered tips to a human trafficking ring to facilitate the entry of Chinese women to work as prostitutes.

Meanwhile, 145 other suspects, including tour operators, the human trafficking ring mastermind, Chinese women and their local bogus marriage partners, were also indicted on charges of fraud and of violating the Statute Governing the Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area.

According to the indictment, Lee, a former member of a liaison task force with the Legislative Yuan, was very familiar with the processing procedures for Chinese women’s entry permit applications due to her long years of service at the immigration office.

Lee is suspected of having told the human trafficking ring led by Chung Ju-chih to have Chinese women fake pregnancy to get early entry interviews. Moreover, she is accused of having on many occasions asked her immigration colleagues to speed up processing of their entry applications under the false claim that certain lawmakers had requested it.

Under the scheme, the indictment said, 82 Chinese women had managed to enter Taiwan via marriages of convenience, among whom 34 had received direct assistance from Lee. The Chinese women tended to pose as brides of Taiwanese men before turning to prostitution, the indictment said.

For each case, Lee allegedly received between NT$30,000 (US$910) and NT$80,000, and she is believed to have raked in NT$2.04 million in bribes, while the human trafficking ring made about at NT$6.8 million in total.

Lee was fired by the immigration office late last October after she was taken into custody pending investigation. Chung and two other accomplices were also held incommunicado to prevent them from coordinating false stories.

One of Chung’s accomplices, Lin Chieh-shan, a tour operator, is accused of having on many occasions asked an independent lawmaker to lobby for the speedy processing by the immigration office of Chinese women’s entry applications.

Prosecutors said no individual lawmaker or legislative aide has so far been found to be involved in the case, but they added that separate investigations have begun to determine whether any lawmaker or legislative aide was involved in the case.