TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan and the United States arrested 38 people suspected of using Taiwanese passport to smuggle Chinese citizens into the U.S. from Mexico, reports said Saturday (July 13).
As Taiwan’s passport gives access to 146 countries without the need for a visa, it has become a useful tool for international people-smuggling gangs of “snakeheads” to take illegal immigrants across borders, the Liberty Times reported.
The present case came to light in June 2017, when a Taiwanese man tried to take a Chinese citizen across the U.S.-Mexico border but was discovered because the latter was too nervous, according to the Liberty Times.
As a result, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) formed a special taskforce to launch a more intense investigation into the phenomenon.
With assistance from the American Institute in Taiwan, the NIA succeeded in obtaining the extradition of the Taiwanese suspect, leading to the discovery of the involvement by a total of 38 Taiwanese citizens. They had been involved in a total of almost 40 people-smuggling cases, and were now being prosecuted in Taoyuan, the report said.