MOFA to help search for two missing in Korea

By Joseph Yeh, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Two Taiwanese women have reportedly been missing in South Korea since mid-February, it was revealed, after the mother of one of the women openly asked the government for assistance on Friday. Asked to comment, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said its representative office had passed on the information to Korean police, but so far they have received no further information on the whereabouts of the reportedly missing nationals. The mother of one of the two women told local media that her daughter, Chiang Yun-yi (江芸儀), was originally working for a shipping company but had resigned last month. She previously said that she would be visiting South Korea on a “tour and study” trip with another Taiwanese woman surnamed Hsu (許) for three months. Chiang also told her that a company was willing to pay her NT$30,000 per month during the three-month period, the mother said. Her daughter had subsequently failed to contact her after she last talked with her on Feb. 14, the day she arrived in Korea, on the instant messaging app Line.

Chiang’s mother said on Thursday that Chiang would not go anywhere without her cellphone and it was unusual for her to not respond to her messages. She was concerned that Chiang could possibly have been kidnapped by human-traffickers or conned by a scam ring in Korea.

Hsu, Chiang’s companion in the trip, set out for Korea on Feb. 12. Her most recent Facebook update was on Feb. 14, in which she published a photo grab of a Korea TV show and the caption: “Why can’t I understand it at all.” Neither Chiang and Hsu is reportedly fluent in Korean. In response, MOFA spokeswoman Eleanor Wang said the ministry had been aware of the case since Feb. 25 after Chiang’s mother reported it to Taoyuan police earlier that day. MOFA promptly reported the case to its representative office in Seoul. It gave Korean police Chiang’s R.O.C. ID number, photograph and other related personal information on Feb. 27 after receiving this information from Chiang’s mother, Wang said. So far, however, Korean police have yet to discover the whereabouts of Chiang, she added. The Foreign Ministry spokeswoman also noted that the family of the other missing woman had yet to ask MOFA or the police for assistance. Taiwan’s representative office in Korea will continue to work with local police in searching for Chiang. Meanwhile, Chiang’s mother also posted a missing person notice for her daughter on a Korean internet bulletin board, asking for Korean people’s help in finding her missing daughter. She said she did not know the name of the Korean company her daughter had supposedly been working for.