Captain of boat carrying Vietnamese illegals released on bail

09/16/2020 07:01 PM
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Coast guard officers apprehend Vietnamese stowaways in Kenting, Pingtung County. Photo courtesy of the Coast Guard Administration
Coast guard officers apprehend Vietnamese stowaways in Kenting, Pingtung County. Photo courtesy of the Coast Guard Administration

Taipei, Sept. 16 (CNA) The captain of a Taiwanese fishing boat accused of attempting to smuggle 36 Vietnamese into Taiwan has been released on bail, according to prosecutors Wednesday.

The captain of the Hengchun-registered fishing vessel Chin Shun Man No. 1 (金順滿壹號), surnamed Chen (陳), was released on NT$100,000 (US$3,421.70) bail and his home residence limited to one address after his ship was intercepted by the Taiwanese coast guard in waters off the southwestern coast of the Hengchun Peninsula early Tuesday.

Pingtung District Prosecutors Office filed a motion late Tuesday to detain Chen and the ship's chief engineer, surnamed Tsai (蔡), over their roles in the human trafficking case.

The Coast Guard Administration (CGA) was tracking the ship and saw people jumping overboard. It subsequently arrested 28 Vietnamese nationals on the vessel and along the coastline that day.

Another five were found in an abandoned bunker early Wednesday on the southwestern coast of the Hengchun Peninsula in southern Taiwan.

None of the 33 Vietnamese had a fever, though one complained of abdominal pain and another had a headache, according to Pingtung County's Public Health Bureau.

The two were taken to hospital for testing and treatment, with the results coming back negative for COVID-19, the health bureau said.

Of the 33 Vietnamese arrested, 18 were men and 15 women.

Authorities are still searching for three other Vietnamese nationals based on a statement from the captain that 36 were on board the vessel, according to the CGA.

Based on the preliminary findings of its investigation into the case, the Vietnamese nationals allegedly boarded a Chinese vessel in China before being transferred to the Taiwanese ship at sea and then sailing toward Taiwan's southern tip, the CGA said.

(By Kuo Chih-hsuan and William Yen)

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