Two Taiwanese and two Vietnamese appearing at the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office on Tuesday were charged with various offences relating to the disappearance of 152 Vietnamese who arrived in Taiwan late last year on tourist visas.
Two suspects, identified as a Vietnamese woman surnamed Mai, 31, an employee at a travel agency in Hanoi, Vietnam, and her Taiwanese husband surnamed Hsiao, 51, were charged with document forgery, hiding fugitives and breaches of the Employment Service Act, The United Daily News reported.
The other two suspects were colleagues, a Taiwanese expatriate in Vietnam surnamed Cheng and a Vietnamese man surnamed Nguyen who belonged to another travel agency in Hanoi.
Cheng was charged with document forgery and hiding criminal suspects, while Nguyen was indicted on the same charges, plus breaching the Human Trafficking Prevention Act due to the fact that he allegedly forced several women into prostitution in Taoyuan.
According to the indictment, the Vietnamese woman recruited 20 Vietnamese individuals who intended to work in Taiwan and charged them each between US$1,000 and US$3,000 for acquiring electronic visas and arranging them into tours to the island country.
A tour group was arranged to Taichung on December 15, while Mai herself led a group of 19 Vietnamese to Kaohsiung on December 21. All tourists from both groups went missing after arriving in Taiwan.
The couple were also found to have hidden two Vietnamese at their home in New Taipei City for several days, and arranged a courier job for a Vietnamese man in Taoyuan.
In the cases of Cheng and Nguyen, they recruited 33 Vietnamese and arranged for them to fly to Taiwan on December 23 for work. Each person paid a fee of US$1,000 to US$2,500.
As of February 19, 2019, out of 152 Vietnamese tourists involved, 53 remained unaccounted for, according to prosecutors.