Police in Taiwan are holding 14 Vietnamese for questioning after they were caught working illegally.
The Vietnamese were caught with 20 other foreigners, all dressed up as tourists, on a tour bus in Chiayi in southern Taiwan on Thursday.
Initial investigation found they just finished picking tea in a mountainous area and were taking the bus to work in another area in the northwest, Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported.
Police said the Vietnamese nationals had run away from their legal employers earlier.
They suspected that the workers, including 12 Indonesians and eight whose nationalities were not identified, were part of an illegal labor ring.
They might have involved in illegal logging as well, police said.
There are around 164,000 Vietnamese working in Taiwan, nearly 30 percent of the total number of Vietnam’s overseas workers.
It is not rare for Vietnamese workers to run away from their employers to find other jobs. Many need to pay off the expensive fee charged by Vietnamese labor export companies – around US$7,000 a person.
Some 1,100 Vietnamese workers in Taiwan broke their contracts every month in 2015, almost twice the monthly average in 2014, according to official data.
Last month, five Vietnamese who ran away from their legal jobs in Taiwan were also caught transporting illegal timber from a mountainous area.