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6 Vietnamese workers arrested for illegal logging in Taiwan

By Staff reporters   December 20, 2017 | 08:17 pm PT
The group is accused of breaking their registered work contracts and cutting down protected trees to sell to criminal organizations.

Six Vietnamese nationals who ran away from their legal employees were arrested in Taiwan on Tuesday for alleged illegal logging.

The group was hiding in Jhushan Township in central Taiwan, the Taipei Times cited authorities as saying.

Immigration officials said they were all wanted by authorities because they had run away from their registered work contracts.

They said the gang had been cutting down protected trees such as Taiwan cypress and red cedar to sell to criminal organizations.

The raid also uncovered suspected drugs.

Prosecutors said they intend to press charges on violations of the Forestry Act, the Immigration Act and the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act, the report said.

A local forestry official said there has been a surge in runaway migrant workers who have switched to illegal timber logging.

Taiwan is a top destination for Vietnamese workers looking for jobs overseas, accounting for around half of the 106,000 workers Vietnam sent overseas in the first 10 months of this year, according to the labor ministry.

But workers often break their contracts to find different jobs that pay better. Media reports said many Vietnamese workers have to pay high brokerage fees to win contracts to work in Taiwan, sometimes up to $7,000 a person. The jobs they are given are not always the ones they were promised.

Over 13,000 Vietnamese workers in Taiwan broke their contracts in 2015, according to official data.

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