85 Vietnamese and Indonesian workers arrested in New Taipei slaughterhouse

Tuesday's raid was to largest mass arrest of migrant workers in over a decade

Workers being detained by police.

Workers being detained by police. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- New Taipei police raided a slaughterhouse in the city's Taishan District (泰山) Tuesday (Jan. 16) and detained 85 foreign workers for questioning, mainly Vietnamese and Indonesian nationals, the largest number of foreign laborers working illegally arrested in one raid in over a decade, reported Liberty Times.

After receiving reports from neighbors spotting foreign workers coming in and out of the New Taipei City Poultry Marketing Cooperative and Affiliated Slaughterhouse late at night, possibly in violation of labor laws, New Taipei's Xinzhuang District police began monitoring the plant for two months.

On Tuesday evening at 11 p.m., over 200 police officers descended on the plant and arrested 85 migrant workers, of whom 67 had fled their previous jobs, while 18 had come on tourist or family visit visas. The majority of the workers were either Vietnamese or Indonesian and they had been hired by brokers of the employer for a monthly salary of NT$25,000 (US$845).

(CNA image)

The slaughter house has a previous record of employing migrant workers illegally, with 78 employees arrested in September of last year, for which seven who were implicated were fined a total of NT$3 million. The factory covers an area of 2,000 ping (one ping equals 3.5 square meters) with many slaughtering lines and a system of lookouts who would alert the plant to shutdown if inspectors were approaching.

Police said that in employers who violate Article 57 of the Employment Service Act (就業服務法) by hiring foreign workers illegally may be given a prison sentence of up to three years and receive a fine of up to NT$1.2 million. Meanwhile, the 85 foreign workers face deportation and would be banned from reentering Taiwan for five years.