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MOFA warns travelers to Colombia after Taiwanese stabbed

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday advised Taiwanese travelers to be cautious and pay close attention to their safety when visiting Colombia after a Taiwanese national was stabbed in the back during a robbery in Bogota last month.

Florencia Hsieh (謝妙宏), deputy director-general of MOFA's Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs, said yesterday that the Taiwanese national was visiting the country on a business trip in mid-November.

He and another Taiwanese were first robbed when they were driving a rental car while waiting at a red light in a southern district of Bogota. The robber broke their car windows and took their money, Hsie said.

After the two returned their rental car later in the same day, the pair encountered another four robbers on their way back to their hotel in an upscale residential area at the north side of the nation's capital city.

During the robbery, one of the Taiwanese was stabbed in the back, Hsie said.

The two later phoned Taiwan's representative office in Bogota for help, and with the assistance of Taiwanese officials the injured Taiwanese was hospitalized.

He was discharged from the hospital a day later. The two Taiwanese returned to Taiwan the same day, according to Hsie.

The official said the incident deserves attention because the upscale residential area at north side of Bogota is normally safe for visitors.

She called on Taiwanese travelers to be on high alert when visiting the country from no on.

Meanwhile, the travel alert MOFA issued to Colombia continues to stay at yellow.

Under MOFA's four-color travel alert system, yellow means travelers should take precautions and avoid unnecessary travel.

The highest level of warning level is red, followed by orange, yellow and gray.

In case of emergency, Taiwanese nationals in Colombia can call the emergency hotline of Taiwan's representative office in Bogota at 03-315- 6492913 for help.

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