Conclusion: My Two Months of Hell in the Taipei Detention Center

CONCLUSION of The ‘Hole’ Story: My Two Months of Hell in the Taipei Detention Center

By ‘M’

Read Parts one, two,
three, or four.

I was dreading the moment, saying goodbye to N–. I hate goodbyes and I always, always cry. I hate, hate, hate goodbyes. How could I say goodbye to N–? I love him so much, what will I do without him? Goddamn it. I was free and now I had to climb onto my plane without my best friend and love. I promised myself I would not cry…

They drove me to the airport, and I walked towards the gates chatting, laughing with my arresting officer. He didn’t put cuffs on my wrists, and he was even carrying one of my bags, joking, encouraging me all the way — a wonderful person. I was lucky to have him as an escorting authority. Other women were always cuffed and released inside the plane.

My story was different. I had absolutely no humiliation at the airport, only help. Then I saw him, N–. He was waiting for me. Yeah, well use your imagination…! We hugged and kissed and I STILL CRIED at the end… yeah, I’m a crier. We walked together, hugging and talking as long as he could go with me. My arresting officer was laughing, leaving us “alone time” before I go. “NO goodbyes,” he said, “only ‘later’… see you soon… Love you,” and kiss kiss kisssss…!

So I looked one more last time at N– and then I left Taiwan.


I was excited, everything is so great when you’re free. Everything has greater value, all the little things we often don’t notice or take for granted. I am definitely a different person after everything that’s happened, a better person because of it. I have more respect and love for life, I’m stronger, more patient, and I overcome bad days easier, just with one thought, of how much it really sucked not being free.

When you’re free and healthy you can overcome anything.

My message is: Don’t ever give up, don’t lose hope, don’t stress over silly things, and don’t see the worst-case scenario. I used to do that. Now, I see things differently; not always, I’m flawed and negative sometimes, but I am changed. I love life, I love my freedom, and I don’t need more than I already have. I am grateful. In the end it’s all good, it must be. I believe in good, I believe things heal and get better, I believe in many things, I believe that some people are good, not all of them are bad, no matter what nationality, race or religion they are.

I believe things can change in the world, laws can change, all people will have the same human rights, justice. I believe I can help at least one person by sharing my story. I believe what’s mine will come. Maybe being in Sanxia was hell, but it made me a better person, it made me wake up and see and feel al the things I couldn’t before. Things that happened to me were unfair, but I’m fine now.

Will I complain? No. I was lucky. Do I hate Taiwanese laws? Yes. I think Taiwanese police and prosecutors are a bunch of liars, lazy asses, greedy for money, petty people who don’t have the guts to go after the real criminals, but torture innocent people just because they want to feel powerful. That’s what I think. It’s sad, but it’s true.

People should know or prepare themselves for the things that may happen to them before going home. It’s not so tragic and I don’t want to sound all “poor me” and all, but it is a degrading, hard and slow process that kills your spirit in a way and changes who you are for a while. It took me almost two months to feel fresh and happy after I was released, but I had awesome support from my mom, family and friends.

What worries me is that there are some people who are not fine, not as lucky as I was, not capable to withstand all the stress; they’re sicker, more alone, left broke, forgotten by the authorities. I hope laws change in the future in Taiwan. I must believe they will, because I’m a believer.

Love and thanks to ALL people who helped me through my hard time and stayed by my side. I carry you in my heart and my mind every day. Thanks Trista for sharing the story and helping others who could possibly be in a same boat as I was, and bringing little more awareness to the people in Taiwan.

Next: Why I overstayed so long in Taiwan

9 thoughts on “Conclusion: My Two Months of Hell in the Taipei Detention Center

  • August 30, 2011 at 4:10 am

    A late,dear friend of mine overstayed for 6 or 7 years a very long time ago.When he decided to leave he was naturally questioned by immigration officials at the airport.He was fluent in both Taiwanese and Mandarin and he cracked a few jokes in Taiwanese.They let him leave with a very small fine…Attitude is everything.

  • August 28, 2011 at 7:51 am

    @Patrick: haha! Thanks for your perspicacity. Hang in there, it’s coming soon. 🙂

  • August 21, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    When do we get the story of why she over-stayed so long?

  • July 11, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    i am very interested in overstay stories, does anyone know a website(s) where i can read what they went thru?

  • July 10, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Vinny what was the reason for your deportation and were you held in the prison because you couldn’t pay the fine/air fare?

  • July 8, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Great story. Having being deported from Taiwan from myself i kind of share a similar experience. However you should explain the circumstances of your arrest first to help readers follow the story better… This experience gave you insight about Taiwan’s immigration law problems, however you don’t discuss your country of origin which could be interesting. I think you shouldn’t also limit the issue to “Taiwanese police and prosecutors” but make it more international and even compare with practices in your own country, just to make your piece more balanced. I did a lot of research on immigration detention centers and laws across the world and Taiwan is probably not the worst nor the best but upholds an international standard of making your stay in an immigration unbearable. Has this experience motivated you to help people in immigration center in your own country? It’s great to bring awareness about Taiwan, but I do think it’s more an international issue since no country has perfect laws to this day as far as I know about immigration.
    I have one question, did they feed you? I was asked to pay for my food and I fasted for two days to pay for my fine and air ticket.
    Again interesting piece.

    • July 11, 2011 at 2:39 am

      Ha,they didn’t feed me.I did not eat for 3 days until one woman gave me her sandwich.I didn’t have money to buy food,others did.Then I was taken to Sanxia(the detention center)where I had regular meals hahaha. Yes,you are right about the comparison thing between Taiwan and my country..but,we don’t have cases like that.It is very rare that you need visa to enter or stay in our country.We are an open country for foreigners coming out of Europe and the laws are more harsh for Europeans..strange. M

  • July 8, 2011 at 5:05 am

    I appreciate you writing this and the previous part where you explained more in the comments.
    The haters will always find a reason to have a go. They usually believe they are perfect, but they aren’t. It would just take knocking say a kid down for them to be thrown in the slammer.

    Anyway I am curious why you were arrested?

    I can only conclude that your (foreign) neighbours were doing drugs and the police rounded up the foreigners nearby?
    Is that right?
    If so, did they do a drug test on you or maybe they got to your passport and the rest is history?
    And who paid for your flight out?


    • July 11, 2011 at 2:24 am

      First of all,thank you for the comment.It makes me feel like I am not the only one who feels the way I feel.Laws for overstay and document problems should not be judged as harsh as the violent law offences.I agree ,I skipped the part where I’m suposed to say why was I arrested in the first place,only because I wanted to protect other’s privacy and escape causing any kind of complication for them.I will tell you as much as I can,or should are a smart person ,and you figurded out on your own anyway. The house where I used to live(big house)was shared between me,my b.friend,and 2 other foreign friends.So there were 4 people in our house.Our landlord was renting 2 houses.Our house and the one next door.So two houses,same landlord.The next door neighboor was a foreigner ,married,family guy. So ,everything was OK(OK:))not quite because I was overstaying my visa),but rather than that we never caused any problems,threw parties etc.We were not living a life of the extremly loud or “crazy”foreigners that Taiwanese people would have problems with.We even decorated and fixed the house ,so our landlord was very happy with us and the way things were going for six months.One early December morning,while I was sleeping ,my dog was resting on the floor next to me,my B.friend went to work,our housemates were somewhere..we didn’t see eachother that,yeah,my dog starts barking and going crazy and I hear this noise on the was all so sureal.I open my eyes,5 or 6 detectives are already in my bedroom while I’m still in my bed.WTF??So ,they enter my bedroom,tell me I am arrested,my b,friend is arrested,my housemate is arrested and my neighbors are being arrested.Whatt?whyy?..I new this has nothing to do with my shitty visa problem..why the fuss and drama? I have never been arrested ,I have never even stole a gum!So,as every normal person,of course I asked what’s going on? They started saying things like,using,possesion of narcotics,selling,growing…as they spoke,I started feeling faint and I could only hear the echo of the words..I could not believe this is happening to me in a country where this kind of law offence is stricktly forbiten.I knew I have nothing to worry about,because I was clean,perfectly clean.But, never know what are they going to set you up for when you’re the bad foreigner.So ,blah,blah…you know,there was a lot of drama,searching the house with dogs,searching through all our stuff(not violent,polite I must say),the officers were nice and patient(but they always are hey?until they screw you over with all the..thank you and sorry ..)One female police officer never left my site ,the others were recording us with cameras ,taking photos,they didn’t even let me say goodbye to my dog and ordered me to tie him up in the garden.You see,now I am getting pissed off,thinking about all this,because yes,I fuckin overstayed my visa,but I was inocent of all this crap charges and they put me through so much humiliation for nothing. The next,we all find out that our neighbor had a plant in his house …come on.They took our urine,did a blod test on all of us. I was the only one that passed the drug test.I was the one who went to jail the day after.Why?Because my visa was overstayed..I forgot to tell you that after we did the test and all..we were not even prosecuted ,but they called journalists to take photos of us,put our Chinese names in a newspaper etc.At the end they tell me “sorry,we know you are not even a user and that you are a good person,but you will tell us everything about the others if you don’t want to go to the imigration office”..I knew that would never happen and plus I really didn’t know anything about my housemate or my neighbor.So that was it.The prosecutor said”you’re not guilty of this charge,you’re going to spend some time at the immigration office so they can judge you” End of story. So I go to Sanxia and during my stay there ,they still talked in a way”If you’re test is clean you can go.” My test was clean!..they just turn around and ignore know the way.We all know they hate confrontation,they avoid eye contact,they turn around and they completely ignore you,knowing you’re right..but what can we do..that’s the way things get done in Taiwan. I had the money..maybe not the first 2 weeks,but later on I had the money to go home.My ticket was expensive,still I had the money.That was not the problem.Of course you get money from family,friends..So,OK,like you said,there are haters everywhere,they called me this and that..I was exposed to journalists,in a newspaper,poked with needles,sat in a small cell for about 24 hours next to piss and shit until they decide to send me anywhere,cuffed and not allowed a right to a phone call..Maybe that’s what they have to do to all people with overstayed visas? I don’t think so. Thanks 🙂 ciao M


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