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Han says he won't accept migrants 'causing trouble' in Taiwan after 'chickens' comment

KMT presidential candidate says he won't accept migrant workers who 'cause trouble' after 'chickens' controversy

Han Kuo-yu (left). (Image from Han Kuo-yu's Facebook page)

Han Kuo-yu (left). (Image from Han Kuo-yu's Facebook page)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Itinerant Kaohsiung Mayor and full-time Kuomintang (KMT) presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu is sure to stir more controversy after he said he will not accept migrants who "cause trouble" as he tried to clarify his controversial comment referring to migrant laborers as "chickens."

During a livestream Facebook video discussion about policies on Aug. 29, Han touched on the topic of Taiwan's brain drain. In the video, Han described the flight of Taiwanese talent and the arrival of migrant workers as "phoenixes flying away and a bunch of chickens coming in!" (鳳凰都飛走了,進來一大堆雞!).

As Taiwan's migrant worker community is still wincing from Han's comparison to them with "chickens" last week. Han today (Sept. 4) took to Facebook to say that he was grateful and respectful of Taiwan's new immigrants, but he said he could not accept those who come to Taiwan to "cause trouble."

Han said that last week he was referring to Taiwan's talent being lured away by offers of salaries triple or quadruple Taiwan levels in Singapore, Hong Kong, and China. Han conceded that when he said, "phoenixes flying away and a bunch of chickens coming in," it sparked a huge uproar and immense confusion.

He then made the following statement:

"What I mean is that the government has enacted the visa-waiver policy. I've received so many phone calls about customs. Customs officers are on the front lines questioning these people from New Southbound Policy nations. They can't speak Chinese or English. When a person comes in and the customs officer asks them where they are going? They say they are going to Miaoli and Nantou for tourism. The customs officers said, 'this is ridiculous, we can't reject too many, otherwise the Ministry of Transportation and Communications' Tourism Bureau will come in and complain.

Customs manpower is super inadequate, and sometimes when a flight comes in, they suspect that half of them are coming to Taiwan to do something [illegal]. But they how can they make a clear investigation? Because of the lack of manpower, there is no way to question all of them one by one. However, customs officers are very suspicious about their purpose in Taiwan. Especially recently, many prostitutes and illegal workers have been found in Taiwan."

Han reiterated that he is grateful to the many new immigrants who come to Taiwan, whether for marriage or work, to build the country. He said that now one in seven babies are from new immigrant parents, accounting for 15 percent of total births.

He said that Taiwan's population structure has changed, and Taiwanese people are grateful and respectful to these new residents. However, as to those who hop off the plane and exploit the visa-free policy to do bad things, not only can customs not stand it, but it will also create more problems for Taiwan's society, said Han.

Han closed by saying the following:

"That's what I meant. That was the spirit of it. These past couple days it has continuously been distorted. I was just saying that we should retain Taiwan's talents and bring in good people to Taiwan. We are grateful to all the new immigrants who come here to work legally. But as for those who come here illegally and enter the country to cause trouble, this is absolutely unacceptable."

The following is Han's video released on Facebook on Sept. 4: