Taiwan to destroy 200,000 passports

Taiwan is set to destroy 200,000 brand new passport books after discovering that designers included Washington’s Dulles airport in the artwork on the passport’s pages. Distribution of the new passports began last week, with some 285 issued so far. After the artwork snafu was discovered government officials initially stated that the passports would be issued anyways. That plan changed just a few hours later, with the 200,000 books to be trashed and new booklets printed. The government will issue older books that it still has in stock while waiting for the new printings.

The new passport design was mandated because of concerns about forgery of the existing design, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

Since the introduction of e-Passports on December 29, 2008, some 166 countries, including European Union states, as well as the United States, Great Britain, and Canada, have granted ROC passport-holders visa-free entry, landing visa, or related entry privileges. However, this has also made our passports the target of criminal organizations. Also, ID security technology develops rapidly. To keep pace with global trends, and to prevent identity theft, next-generation e-Passports are thus being introduced.

Next-generation e-Passports feature the best in internationally used security measures. For example, they include a third image of the passport-holder and a metallic surface relief, upgrading their security functions. The inner pages show background images of landmarks and cultural customs, all symbolic of a dynamic Taiwan.

That last bit – about the inner pages showing landmarks symbolic of Taiwan – is where the new books failed.

On the plus side, only a few hundred were issued in the first couple days of availability so it won’t be too hard to get them back.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


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