TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An American man in Taiwan who had earlier been intercepted while trying to leave Taiwan for home was finally allowed to depart after paying a NT$150,000 (US$5,400) fine for flouting the country’s quarantine rules on Tuesday (Jan. 25).
According to a press release issued by the Administrative Enforcement Agency’s (AEA) Shilin Branch on Wednesday, an American man entered Taiwan from San Francisco on Sept. 1 last year, and he was supposed to stay at a quarantine hotel until midnight on Sept. 16. However, he left the hotel at 9 a.m. on Sept. 15, for which he was slapped with a NT$150,000 fine.
As the American man had not paid the fine, his case was therefore referred to the AEA in January this year, the Shilin branch said. AEA staffers handling the case found that the American man came to Taiwan to study as an international student, and after an investigation, the agency failed to obtain his contact and address, according to the press release.
Therefore, the AEA notified the National Immigration Agency (NIA) of the violation committed by the expatriate, and the NIA put him on the list of people who are restricted from leaving the country, per the release.
The AEA’s branch said that the American suddenly descended on the branch on Jan. 19 and asked how to pay the fine, so the restriction placed on him to leave the country could be removed. After talking to him, AEA staffers learned about his failed attempt to return to the U.S. due to the overdue fine.
The American man did not deny knowledge of being fined due to his violation of the quarantine rules, but he said that it was the last day of the quarantine and that he misunderstood the quarantine directions written in Chinese, thinking that he was allowed by the rules to leave when he left, per the release.
When he realized that he had violated the prescribed timeline of the quarantine, he took a taxi to return to the quarantine facility, but was still slapped with the fine for leaving 15 hours early.
He said he did not flout the rules intentionally, but would ask help from his relatives and friends to settle the fine, so that he could go home to reunite with his family. He promised to return to the branch to make the payment on Tuesday, which he did, and the restriction for him to leave the country was subsequently removed, per the release.
He said he will return to Taiwan in March to finish his studies, and promised to pay attention to the quarantine rules the next time around.
(AEA Shilin Branch photo)