Taipei--Two Singaporean passengers were caught carrying nearly NT$1 million (US$33,000) in cash at Taiwan's main international airport Saturday night without having declared it, and as a result had most of the money seized by customs authorities.
The two -- a 33-year-old woman surnamed Chen and a 27-year-old woman surnamed Soh -- were about to take a flight leaving Taiwan before customs inspectors at an X-ray check point discovered NT$998,000 of undeclared cash in one of their hand bags, according to airport police.
Customs officials returned NT$100,000 to each of the women but seized the remainder.
The travelers, appearing very upset by the confiscation, complained that they had no knowledge of Taiwan's new regulations governing the declaration of currencies carried by in- and outbound travelers.
According to an amendment to the Money Laundering Control Act that went into effect on June 28, passengers entering or leaving Taiwan with more than NT$100,000, 20,000 Chinese yuan or foreign currency worth more than US$10,000 in cash are required to declare it.
In addition, passengers who carry marketable securities worth over US$10,000, gold in excess of US$20,000 in value, or diamonds, jewelry and platinum in excess of NT$500,000 in value must also declare it.
Undeclared currencies, gold, or objects that could be used for laundering money will all be confiscated, the revised act stipulates.
Despite the government's efforts to publicize the new regulations aimed at stemming money laundering, many travelers have been found leaving or entering the country with large amounts of cash that should have been declared but weren't.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel