TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Police found over 100 Vietnamese migrant workers gathered in a restaurant in Taoyuan on Sunday (Sept. 12), a violation of the Central Epidemic Command Center's (CECC) limit of 80 people for indoor gatherings.
At 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, Taoyuan police received a tip from the public about suspected undocumented workers at a banquet in a Vietnamese restaurant on Taoying Road, reported UDN. Hsieh Ching-hua (謝青樺), the head of Dashu Police Station, immediately led of team of officers and epidemic prevention personnel to inspect the premises.
When police arrived at the scene, the restaurant's roll-up door had been pulled down, but loud noises could be heard coming from inside. Suspecting that a large group had gathered inside and to prevent the suspects from fleeing, officers were deployed outside both the front and back doors.
Police then called the owner of the restaurant, a 33-year-old Vietnamese woman and naturalized Taiwanese citizen surnamed Nguyen. When she arrived, she unlocked the front door.
Once inside, police found 40 people on the first floor. They then searched the second and third floors and found over 50 hiding on the roof.
Police officer photographing migrant worker inside restaurant. (Taoyuan Police Department photo)
The police discovered four Vietnamese employees and 98 customers. Of these customers, seven are naturalized Taiwanese citizens.
Two of the customers, a 25-year-old man surnamed Ngo (伍) and a 24-year-old man surnamed Huang Hoang (黃), were found to be unaccounted for workers. A third guest, a 27-year-old woman surnamed Ngo (伍), had overstayed her visa.
These three were transferred to the National Immigration Agency's (NIA) special task force in Taoyuan to be investigated for immigration law violations. As for the rest of the participants, the city's Department of Health is reviewing the evidence and deciding what penalties to impose for violating the indoor crowd limit.
During the pandemic, many employers have placed Draconian restrictions on the movements of their migrant workers, often only allowing them to step out of their dorms on holidays. However, many restaurants that migrant workers used to frequent have been shuttered, leaving them few options when they are permitted to go out.
As for the status of the three detainees, the NIA stated that the Vietnamese representative office arranges charter flights to repatriate its citizens about three to four times a month. The most recent flight was in late August when 60 Vietnamese were returned to their home country.