Missing Taiwanese student allegedly smuggled into Myanmar from Thailand

A female Taiwanese university student who went missing on March 29 is believed to be in Yangon, Myanmar, after flying to Bangkok, according to police in Taiwan. Police believe she fell victim to a human trafficking gang. There is no record of her leaving Thailand.

The 20 year old student of Providence University, surnamed Lin, arrived in Yangon on March 30, according to Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau, which launched an investigation on April 2, reports Taiwan News.

Police say that Lin travelled from Taichung to Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport in a white car on March 30 and took a flight bound for the United Kingdom at 8am. However, Lin never reached the UK because she never boarded her connecting flight to London, disembarking in Bangkok.

Lin’s family grew concerned after she never returned to celebrate the Tomb Sweeping Festival with them in Taoyuan as she had promised.

Lin’s mother rang her daughter’s mobile phone continuously. After ringing 20 times, the phone was picked up by Lin’s ex-boyfriend, Lee. Lee said he didn’t know Lin’s whereabouts. Lin’s family said the couple broke up in March.

Lee said that Lin left her old phone behind before leaving the country. However, police say that Lee has previously committed fraud and believe he could be hiding something.

After contacting Lin’s landlord who said the apartment was empty, Lin’s mother filed a missing persons report on March 29. Police examined CCTV footage to find that Lin left her apartment at 8.30am on March 29.

Police found evidence that Lin purchased a new mobile phone for 10,000 Taiwanese dollars (US$327) before buying a one-way plane ticket to London, abandoning her studies.

Reports say that Lin travelled to Yangon to meet her “new boyfriend” whom she met through her ex-boyfriend, Lee. Police say that because both Lee and the “new boyfriend” have a history of fraud, so Lin may be a victim of organised human trafficking.

Police say there is no record of Lin leaving Thailand, suggesting she was smuggled or crossed over the border illegally.

On April 1, one of Lin’s friends was allegedly contacted by Lin, who said she was in Yangon. The friend was told that “everything was safe,” but family members are still concerned as they cannot contact Lin.

Asia News

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.