Ten Vietnamese women escape from The National Immigration Agency center

The China Post staff

The National Immigration Agency (NIA) has mounted a search islandwide after 10 women from Vietnam escaped with outside help from a detention center in northeastern Yilan County early yesterday morning. At around 4 a.m., unknown intruders cut through the steel window frame of a second-floor room to free three Vietnamese women inside. They were immediately taken away by an escape vehicle waiting outside.

Seven other women, also from Vietnam, took the chance to escape from the same window and disappeared. One woman was reapprehended when she attempted to shop at a convenience store nearby before noon. Wu Cheng-chi, NIA director general, rushed to the scene after learning of the escape. NIA police and officials have alerted law enforcement throughout Taiwan. The NIA is also investigating whether there anyone working at the detention center played a role in the escape. This was the second escape of illegal immigrants in little over two weeks. Five Vietnamese men worked together to form pyramid and break the ventilation system at another detention center in Yilan on Aug. 1. The five are still at large. The detainees were mostly brought into Taiwan by human-trafficking organizations with the men assigned as laborers and women working mostly as prostitutes. Elected officials in Yilan area complained about the detainees’ escape, saying it demonstrated the incompetence of the NIA and top officials at the agency. They were concerned about public safety in their neighborhoods. NIA officials said the detention centers were severely under-staffed.

NIA chief Wu has been under pressure to step down from his post. Human rights groups claimed that Wu has unable to rectify the practices of NIA inspectors, who have been charged with frequently harassing new immigrants who have settled down in Taiwan through legal channels. Leaders of the organizations said NIA officials often display disrespect for the human rights of new immigrants. The term “new immigrants” refers to the growing number of foreign citizens, mostly from China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand, who now live in Taiwan due to marriage.

The term serves to make the distinction between those who came to Taiwan from China after the end of World War II or earlier.