Two Taiwanese reportedly strip-searched in France

Here is paper from today Taiwan News :

Commenting on a newspaper report that two Taiwanese had been stripped, searched and detained at a French airport on grounds that they held different versions of Taiwan passports, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said that there had been no precedent of similar cases and urged the public to contact the ministry whenever they need help in a foreign country.

The Apple Daily yesterday reported that it had received a letter from Lai Kuang-pin and Peng Chien-hua, relating their experience of being stripped, searched and detained at a French airport.

The newspaper cited the letter as saying that as the men were waiting for a British Airways flight to the United Kingdom at Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport on August 18, Taiwan time, when they were told by clerks at the airlines counter that they were not allowed to board the plane because of passport problems. The two were later searched in separate rooms and told to strip before being taken to a detention room, where they spent two days before they were deported to Taiwan, the newspaper reported.

During the time they were being held, the two called their company in Taiwan for help, and the company then called the MOFA on August 20, hours before Lai and Peng arrived in Taiwan on the same day, the newspaper reported.

According to the report, after the two men informed their Taipei County office of the issue, company authorities called the MOFA for assistance, only to be asked by MOFA officials why the two men didn’t file for help online in “real time.”

Taiwan’s representative to France Michel Lu (呂慶龍) said he checked with British Airways after receiving the call and the airlines told him that their clerks at the counter had faxed copies of the two passports to the airlines’ headquarters in London for further identification. The clerks finally got a reply indicating the two were “suspicious.” The airline thus refused to board the two men and instead sent them to the French aviation police station at the airport, Lu said.

The UK has tightened its anti-terrorism measures, and British Airways has been blackmailed by terrorists, Lu noted.

MOFA spokesman David Wang (王建業) said Taiwan’s representative to France received the call from Lai and Peng’s company two days after the incident and proceeded to check with British Airways and the French aviation police right away.

Wang stressed that both British Airways and the French aviation police had not specified the reasons for their treatment of the two Taiwanese travelers but said they had followed the regulations and standard procedures in carrying out their duties. Wang said the two travelers could make a complaint to both British Airways and the French aviation police if they were not satisfied with the way the matter was handled.

Since the launch of an initiative in September 2003 to add the word “Taiwan” to the national passport, MOFA has notified all the countries of the world of the change, and to date had not received any reports of similar incidents, Wang said.

He urged the public to immediately seek help from consular missions abroad or from the MOFA if they encounter passport or identification problems, in order to resolve the issues right away.

Meanwhile, Kuo Su-chun (郭素春), a whip of the opposition Kuomintang legislative caucus, said the MOFA should lodge a protest and demand an open apology from France over what he called the humiliating treatment endured by the two men.”

More details are provided by this paper related to my previous post.

About British Airways, the Taiwanese passports had different cover page but at least, what about the visa? Why not checking the visa too?

And now, about the fact that the company which hired these two men only contacted the MOFA on August 20th (two days after the events), I checked the calendar: August 18th and 19th are week end days. So obviously, there are no one who could answer a phone call from private parties during the week end?

It is not an excuse, but it could explain why French authorities kept them during two days: no one to turn to.

Funny (pathetic?)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: