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Man Let Off Fine For Breaking Quarantine Rules After It Transpired He Was Kidnapped

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Man Let Off Fine For Breaking Quarantine Rules After It Transpired He Was Kidnapped

Authorities in Taiwan have let a man off after he was fined for breaking coronavirus quarantine - as it transpired he'd actually been kidnapped.

The man, identified only by his surname Chen, returned to Taiwan from Hong Kong in late October 2020.

He'd planned to stay with a friend for the mandatory 14-day quarantine period, having arrived at the home in Nantou county to sit tight for a fortnight.

However, the next day, men identified as debt collectors forced their way into the property and assaulted Chen - having mistaken him for his friend, who owed them money.

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The justice ministry said the men abducted Chen and took him back to his own home to collect the money owned, before he was later returned to the friend's house.

People wearing face coverings to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Taipei, Taiwan. Credit: PA
People wearing face coverings to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Taipei, Taiwan. Credit: PA

The Guardian reports that it's not clear how police were alerted that Chen had left the property, but Taiwan's quarantine system includes electronic monitoring through phone signals.

Chen was arrested and fined T$100,000 (£2,600) for breaching quarantine regulations.

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But the justice ministry said his bizarre explanation has since been investigated and confirmed to be true, meaning the fine has now been revoked as he'd actually been forced to leave quarantine against his will.

Hu Tianci, a spokesman for the Changhua branch of the administrative enforcement agency, said: "The violation of the quarantine regulations was not caused by his own intentional or negligent behaviour.

"According to the law such behaviour should not be punished and should be referred to the health unit for withdrawal."

According to the Guardian, it's the first time a Taiwanese government fine for a quarantine breach has been reversed.

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Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. Credit: PA
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. Credit: PA

The maximum fine for breaching regulations is T$300,000 (£7,800) - which was recently imposed on a pilot, who had flown between Taiwan and the US and travelled around Taipei while infectious, leading to the first community transmission case in more than 250 days.

Previously, all new cases of the disease in Taiwan had been from people travelling into the country rather than those who already live there.

But the New Zealand pilot had infected a woman, who was a friend.

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The government criticised the pilot, who works for Taiwan's EVA Airways Corp, for not recording all of his contacts and places he had been correctly, and not wearing a face covering when he should have been.

He was confirmed to have contracted the disease on Sunday 20 December having travelled from the US.

President Tsai later urged people to continue to follow the health guidance being offered.

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She told reporters: "This case has a confirmed source of infection. Please don't panic excessively."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: World News, News, taiwan, Coronavirus

Jess Hardiman
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