New Taipei police on the hunt for 1 person who absconded from quarantine

New Taipei Mayor Hou You-yi reacts to questions from the media on Feb. 19, 2020. (CNA)
New Taipei Mayor Hou You-yi reacts to questions from the media on Feb. 19, 2020. (CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — One of two missing New Taipei residents who were supposed to be sequestered in 14-day home quarantine after entering the country from China earlier this month was found in Taoyuan on Wednesday.

The man, identified as Kuo Fu-wen (郭富文), was located at a hotel in the city by police late Tuesday after having gone missing since Feb. 7, when he returned to Taiwan-held Kinmen Island from China’s Fujian Province aboard a ferry.

Kuo was taken away by New Taipei health officials who will apply for permission from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to put him into an anti-contamination center for a two-week quarantine period, even though he was found to be in good health.

New Taipei Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) said Kuo faces a heavy fine, as evidence indicates that he purposely evaded the mandatory home quarantine imposed on arrivals from China, Hong Kong and Macau to contain the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus first detected in Wuhan in China’s Hubei Province in December.

According to Hou, Kuo supplied a false address and phone number to avoid the home quarantine when he arrived in offshore Kinmen County from Fujian.

“There is no leniency for people who intentionally avoid the mandatory home quarantine,” he stressed, noting that “around 4,300 New Taipei residents have been subject to home quarantine and Kou’s behavior is not acceptable to Taiwanese society.”

Those who breach the regulations for COVID-19 home quarantine and home isolation can be fined NT$10,000-NT$150,000 (US$332-US$5,000) by the CDC.

Meanwhile, New Taipei authorities are still tracking down Kuan Yung-an (管永安), another New Taipei resident who ran away after landing in Kinmen from Fujian on Feb. 9.

As of Tuesday, a total of 38 residents had been fined for violating the home quarantine or home isolation regulations in neighboring Taipei — the country’s capital. Four of them were fined NT$70,000 for giving false information, while one received a fine of NT$60,000 for violating the home isolation regulations and 33 others were fined NT$10,000 for breaching home quarantine rules, according to Taipei Department of Health tallies.

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