Vietnamese detained in Kaohsiung while cooking at food stand

(photo courtesy/left-National Immigration Agency, right-wikipedia)

Kaohsiung, July 20 (CNA) A Vietnamese worker who absconded from his legal employer was recently detained in Kaohsiung while serving as a cook at a popular local food stand, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) said in a statement Monday.

Acting on a tipoff, officers of the NIA’s Kaohsiung City Service Center arrested the Vietnamese worker, identified as A-teh (阿德), from the stand that sold oyster omelets and seafood porridge in Zihguan District.

Immigration authorities are investigating the case to determine how long he has been in Taiwan and if he should be deported.

They did not provide many details about his past, other than to say he has been in Taiwan for six years.

A-teh landed his most recent job either late last year or earlier this year after noticing a food stand in the Kaohsiung area selling something similar to Vietnamese food.

Formerly a cook in Vietnam, he made an oyster omelet and seafood porridge for the boss of the stand, who liked what he tried so much that he hired A-teh to work for him, the statement said.

Hiring migrant workers who have left their legal employers is illegal in Taiwan, but for a while at least using the Vietnamese helped drum up business for the food outlet.

A-teh’s cooking skills drew large numbers of customers, and the stand soon went viral on the internet, making it a food hot spot in the neighborhood.

The stand could sell 400 oyster omelets and 500 seafood porridges a day, and customers needed to wait in line for at least an hour on holidays, according to the statement.

Following A-teh’s detention, customers are complaining they can no longer enjoy the food prepared by the Vietnamese cook.

The boss of the stand, meanwhile, will face a fine of between NT$150,000 (US$5,070) and NT$750,000 for hiring an absconding immigrant worker. He could receive a jail sentence if he violates the law again within five years.

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