Indonesia looks for Taiwanese people smuggling gang

Gang lured 40 Indonesian students to Taiwan with promise of studies

Indonesian police are looking for 6 Taiwanese suspects (photo courtesy of Indonesian police).

Indonesian police are looking for 6 Taiwanese suspects (photo courtesy of Indonesian police). (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Police in Indonesia are looking for six Taiwanese suspects who recruited 40 Indonesians ostensibly to study at Chienkuo Technology University (CKTU, 建國科技大學) in Changhua City, but in reality they were forced to work illegally, reports said Tuesday (October 15).

Two Indonesians who worked with the six Taiwanese to interview prospective students in Jakarta were arrested, according to the Central News Agency.

Once the students arrived in Taiwan, they were forced to work from Monday to Saturday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., with language classes only on Sundays. During the 18 months they spent on the island, some students only received NT$4,300 (US$140) a month, police said.

A manpower company reportedly distributed the students over several factories involved in chemicals, metals or cars, according to the report. As they were studying in a small room on the CKTU campus on Sundays, there never was any interaction with the college’s Taiwanese students.

The go-betweens paid the two Indonesian suspects about NT$120,000 per student, while half the students’ monthly NT$26,000 wage was pocketed by the middlemen, the report said.

The university in Changhua said it had set up a taskforce to investigate the case, while the Indonesian police asked for cooperation from its Taiwanese counterpart to find the six Taiwanese suspects.

Over the past year, students from several Southeast Asian and South Asian countries have been found to have been forced into illegal work instead of study.