TECO in UK Making Threats over Passport Stickers?

TECO in UK Making Threats over Passport Stickers?

On March 31, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement clarifying what happened at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the United Kingdom on March 30th.

According to a Facebook post on the group “Taiwanese in Europe,” a Taiwanese woman, surname Pang, was trying to apply for a notary on her marriage certificate when the official asked her to tear off a sticker that was on her passport. The sticker was covering an area, which the official identified as the national emblem of Taiwan while Pang thought it was the emblem of the KMT.

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After Pang refused, the official supposedly “dangled” her passport, threatened to confiscate her passport until she removed the sticker. As a result, Pang wanted to stop notarizing her marriage certificate. but the passport was returned to Pang.

Ministry’s response

The ministry points out that modifying the passport’s design is illegal according to the Enforcement Rules of the Passport Act. It further elaborated that the official was only suggesting Pang to remove the sticker to “safeguard the nation’s dignity and official state name.” The statement asserted that the official “also witnessed her signing a Chinese-language translation of her marriage certificate before issuing her a receipt.”

The Ministry further stated that “representative offices can only advise people to remove stickers on their passports and do not have the authority to confiscate travel documents,” therefore making Pang’s story untrue.

Netizens’ anger

As word spread of what had happened, the online Taiwanese community erupted in criticism over the behavior of the official. The creator of the passport sticker that Pang used, Lao Tan, points out, “Even if the official returned the passport to the woman in the end, such a douchebag public servant deserves to be disciplined.” Others pointed out the confusion of whether the emblem was the national emblem or KMT emblem.

KMT emblem (left); Taiwan national emblem (right) Photo Credit: Jeffrey Tsai

KMT emblem (left); Taiwan national emblem (right) Photo Credit: Jeffrey Tsai

Edited by Olivia Yang

Sources:
SETN.com
Liberty Times
Liberty Times
“Ministry denies passport claim" (Taipei Times)
Taiwanese in Europe Facebook page