To prevent island-hopping or round-island cruises from being exploited for money laundering by criminals, the Maritime and Port Bureau (MPB) of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) has proposed the “Pretend to Go Abroad Travel Cruise Voyage Program” to the Central Epidemic Command Center, which has granted its approval on December 24. From this date onwards, cruises must apply for special approval from the MPB, and passengers must undergo customs clearance inspections enforced by the Customs Administration, National Immigration Agency, Centers for Disease Control and Coast Guard Administration in accordance with the “Money Laundering Control Act” before boarding. Passengers traveling by cruise ship will be subject to the same regulations on the amount of cash that can be carried as those entering or leaving the country by sea or air so as to fully prevent instances of illegal money laundering. In other words, passengers traveling by cruise will no longer be able to carry unlimited amounts of cash or be exempt from declaration.
The MPB states that, in accordance with the “Anti-Money Laundering Regulations for Cross-border Declaration and Reporting” stipulated based on Article 12 of the “Money Laundering Control Act,” a passenger or a service crew member arriving into or departing from the country on a flight/voyage within the same day, holding the following items in his/her possession, shall be required to declare said items to the Customs; thereafter, the Customs shall report the said declarations to the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau pursuant to regulations. Such items include cash in foreign currencies, including currencies issued by Hong Kong or Macau, in an aggregate value exceeding US$10,000; cash in New Taiwan dollars in an aggregate value exceeding NT$100,000; securities bearing a total face value more than US$10,000; gold in an aggregate value exceeding US$20,000; and items that might be used for the purpose of money laundering in an aggregate value exceeding NT$500,000.
The MPB further explained that following the implementation of the “Pretend to Go Abroad Travel” program for cruise ships, the Customs Administration will be carrying out baggage inspections and customs clearance inspections for inbound and outbound passengers in accordance with the “Regulations Governing the Declaration, Inspection, Duty and Release of Personal Luggage or Goods of Inward Passengers” and the “Money Laundering Control Act;” the Border Affairs Corps of the National Immigration Agency of Ministry of the Interior will be conducting entry and exit passport inspections and shut-out operations in accordance with the “Regulations Governing Immigration Inspection and Data Collection and Utilization;” and the Coast Guard Administration will be executing security check operations on inbound and outbound ships and personnel in accordance with the “National Security Act” and “The Coast Guard Act.” Cruise operators must also strictly enforce relevant measures that comply with the FATF international standards for money laundering prevention and thoroughly carry out money laundering prevention tasks, so as to maintain Taiwan’s image of excellence within the global community due to the nation’s resumption of in`ternational cruise travel while observing strict epidemic prevention standards and success in reviving the tourism economy in the post-pandemic era.
Contact person: Maritime Affairs Division, Section Chief, Tu Wen-Yun
Contact number: 02-8978-8020