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Jul 26, 2002

Search fails to locate new passport holders

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On last night’s newscast we asked for the public’s help in trying to answer some nagging questions about what appears to be the illegal sale of Belizean passports. Specifically, we aired the names, street location and photos of twenty-two applicants for Belizean passports, whose documentation appears to be suspect. These applicants, from Taiwan, Mainland China and the Middle East, were supposed to have resided in Belize for at least five years…and we were hoping that their friends, neighbours–or even they themselves would call News 5 and make a positive identification. But by ten this morning not a single call had come in…and while this only confirmed our suspicions that the applications were indeed false and the applicants had never set foot in Belize, in the name of fairness News 5′s Ann-Marie Williams and Stewart Krohn decided to go the extra mile…or in this case an extra twenty-five.

Ann-Marie Williams, Reporting

We decided to take the applications that showed the greatest likelihood of being authentic. What we came up with was the Huang family Taiwan: father, mother and two children. At least the signatures were written and not printed, a city as well as country of birth was indicated, and the address at mile twenty-five on the Western Highway is the site of an isolated enclave of Taiwanese immigrants.

So we set off up the Western Highway…and where better to ask about who lives there than at the community’s only shop. Hsu Chun-chu and Chui Jui-hsing, are the proprietors. They came to Belize from Taiwan seven years ago and have lived at mile twenty-five for the last five years. We explained who we were, what we were looking for and showed them the applications and photos.

Ann-Marie Williams

“This would be a student. Have you seen her, she’s fourteen?”

(Chui Jui-hsing shrugs his shoulders)

Ann-Marie Williams

“No? You don’t know. And neither this one, She would be thirteen, another student?”

Chui Jui-hsing, Shopkeeper

“Don’t know.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“Nor the dad nor the mom.”

Stewart Krohn

“This would be the father.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“He’s a businessman. he doesn’t have any shop around here or anything like that? And the mother is a housewife.”

(Chui Jui-hsing shakes head, no)

Stewart Krohn

“You’ve lived here for seven years, you’ve run this shop for five years.”

Hsu Chun-chu, Shopkeeper

“Yes.”

Stewart Krohn

“This is the only place near mile twenty-five that people live right?”

Hsu Chun-chu

“Yes.”

Stewart Krohn

“If a family lived at mile twenty-five for five years, and you own the only shop for miles around, wouldn’t you know them?”

Hsu Chun-chu

“Sometimes we see people, but we don’t know what’s their name in English. We only know the Taiwan name.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“But this is Taiwanese.”

Drawing a blank on the Huangs, the shopkeeper enlisted the help of a neighbour, also a long time resident.

Ann-Marie Williams

“Do you know these names? No. You live here for a long time?”

Neighbour

“Yes.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“How long you live here?”

(Neighbour looks at pictures)

Neighbour

“I don’t know.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“It’s like one family.”

Neighbour

“I don’t know. Who name did you give me make me check?”

Stewart Krohn

“The name is Huang.”

(Shopkeepers speaking in Chinese)

Hsu Chun-chu

“No, no known these people.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“Thank you very much.”

So much for the Huangs at Mile twenty-five. If they ever lived here, they must have been invisible. Ann-Marie Williams for News 5.

In other news on the immigration front, reliable sources have confirmed to News 5 that the United States Government has decided to take action against those persons it feels may be involved in promoting illegal immigration to that country. We understand that Justices of the Peace Max Santos and Rudolph Thimbriel, Director of Immigration Paulino Castellanos and immigration agent Jose Shoman have all had their U.S. visas revoked at the request of the embassy here. As for immigration agent Gabby Affif, his visa was cancelled some time ago. While the United States may have acted quickly to safeguard its interests, the Government of Belize continues to remain silent while an investigation continues under the direction of Home Affairs CEO Alan Usher. Usher’s report was due on the desk of the Prime Minister today, but News 5 understands that Usher has requested the weekend to finalise his report. Prime Minister Said Musa is expected to go public with the findings as early as Monday.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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