Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-08-27 03:59 PM
Last Thursday, Wu’s daughter found her son’s passport was not valid for six months anymore, leading China Air Lines to refuse his embarkation on its flight to the Pacific island of Palau. As a result, the boy’s mother applied for a new passport at the airport’s MOFA office
The incident touched off accusations of favoritism, with a relative of the vice president being allowed to obtain a new passport within a short time while ordinary citizens still had to wait for days, reports said.
MOFA said the procedure was also available for individual passengers, though it had not publicized the fact because of limits on staff and machinery at the airport. Both MOFA and Wu denied any favoritism, because the boy’s identity and family links had not been revealed at the time.
The ministry said that passengers who could provide proof they had already paid for a ticket on a flight departing within 12 hours would be allowed to request assistance at MOFA’s airport desk.
The ministry was reportedly offering one job to a person who spoke English and had experience with customs procedures for a monthly wage of NT$26,775 (US$893), the Chinese-language Liberty Times reported Tuesday.
After Wu attended a funeral in Yilan County Tuesday morning, he again rejected accusations of favoritism in talks with journalists. Reports suggested his daughter did not have to provide a civil record registration form to obtain the new passport for her son, even though parents usually have to do so.
The vice president said this measure had been in place for many years, but if the public didn’t know, it was probably because MOFA had not sufficiently advertised it.
He also denied that his grandson had received privileges, saying he was just like any little son of Taiwanese citizens.
Parents of children under the age of 14 reportedly have to present evidence of registration to apply for travel documents in order to prevent misuse, such as strangers taking other people’s children out of the country. Wu said MOFA officials at the airport probably checked the child’s link with his mother before issuing the new passport.
Wu’s daughter apparently paid the required NT$900 (US$30) fee, but the 150 passengers on the flight had to wait an extra 11 minutes before it could take off, reports said.
MOFA said a total of 325 emergency requests for passports had been handled over the past two years.