Taipei City Poultry Wholesale Market, Taiwan. Photo: Google Maps

Over 100 officers from the National Immigration Agency stormed a five-story wholesale poultry market in Taiwan during the early hours of Tuesday in an attempt to net dozens of illegal migrant workers.

After months of investigations following citizens’ complaints, the National Immigration Agency operation saw the arrests of 13 men and nine women who were allegedly working in Taipei City Poultry Wholesale Market in Wanhua District, The China Times reported.

Since the alleged premises came with numerous entry and exit points, immigration officers together with officers from the Military Police surrounded the complex to guard each of the exits before the raid began.

On the second floor they detained 19 Vietnamese and three Indonesian workers, 18 of whom were identified as runaway migrants while the remaining four were overstaying in Taiwan. At the time of the raid, they were disemboweling slaughtered poultry in a workplace reported to be foul-smelling and strewn with animal blood, feathers and excreta.

Preliminary investigation found that the workers each were paid NT$24,000 (US$779) a month, excluding accommodation. They could earn this sum only if they worked every day of the month.

The migrants who are now detained at the Yilan Immigration Detention Center were found to have been instructed not to give away any information regarding their employment agencies or employers, prompting the authorities to believe that further arrests will be likely during the course of investigation.