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Official: small number of foreign workers aid ISIS

The file photo shows National Immigration Agency Director General Ho Jung-chun.

Official: Small number of foreign workers aid ISIS

The file photo shows National Immigration Agency Director General Ho Jung-chun.

An immigration official said Wednesday that a single-digit number of foreign workers are on a Taiwanese intelligence agency’s watch list for supporting ISIS activities. The statement came after a local media’s disclosure of an “ISIS kill list” in which 69 Taiwanese are targeted.

Asked by Democratic Progressive Party legislator Chen Chi-mai during a legislative interpellation session Wednesday if there are any foreign workers in Taiwan involved in supporting or sponsoring the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, extremist activities, National Immigration Agency (NIA) Director-General Ho Jung-chun replied the National Security Council (NSC) does possess a watch list of less than 10 people.

The Chinese-language Mirror Media recently disclosed a “kill list” of 69 Taiwanese named as IS assassination targets, which was initially released by a pro-ISIS hacker group earlier in June and was later made known to Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to media reports, the officials said that the authorities have conducted a probe into the information but have found it to be widely inaccurate with half of the names on the list correspond to nonexistent people.

The local media reported that people on the list are civilians and there are no politicians. Most of them are highly-skilled professionals specializing in information technology or computer science.

The list was said to appear for the first time in June and holds details of 4,681 people from 18 countries, including Americans, Canadians, Indians, Britons and French. According to an international counter-terrorism organization SITE, the purpose of these kill lists is to spread fear among citizens and grab media attention.

Taiwan’s National Police Agency responded to a Taiwan News reporter that the agency had received the intelligence earlier but found half of the names on the kill list are incorrect and some are obsolete. Another person familiar with the matter said that the name list released from the pro-ISIS hacker group could have been obtained from an attendance list of an international counter-terrorism seminar held a decade ago.

To ease public concerns, however, the agency said a task force will be established and will continue efforts to collect intelligence and increase security checks at airports and ports.

Asked by legislator Chen Chi-mai about another terrorist list, Ho said there are currently 20 people on the list being monitored under a joint effort between the government and international counter-terrorism organizations. Ho added that all of these terror suspects have only made transit stops in Taiwan and have never entered the country.

Separately, sources told the Mirror Media that Taiwan’s NSC has been closely watching eight Taiwanese, who are said to be prone to Islamist extremism.

Updated : 2022-05-18 18:24 GMT+08:00