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May 27, 2017

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Interior minister inspects Taoyuan security

TAIPEI -- Interior Minister Chen Wei-zen visited Taiwan's main international airport Sunday, where he called for strict passport and security checks amid the continued global unease following the apparent hijacking of Malaysia Airines Flight 370.

Security has been heightened at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport following the March 8 disappearance of MH370, with measures including checks against false passports and suspected terrorists intensified.

Chen, who was briefed on counter-terrorism measures by police and immigration authorities at the airport, said he expected security measures to be held to the standards used in the United States and Israel without compromising the level of customer service.

He also promised to address a shortfall in passport-handling staff, which has increased only by 7 percent over a time period when passenger volume has increased by 54 percent.

National Immigration Agency head Hsieh Li-kung, who accompanied Chen on the visit, said his agency is working on a facial recognition and fingerprint checking system for foreigners entering the country aimed at guarding against the use of stolen or forged documents.

Hsieh said the system is now being tested at Kaohsiung International Airport in southern Taiwan and is set to be implemented countrywide by the end of this year.

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