Taiwan urges China to stop its fishermen from trespassing (update)

2017/05/06 22:48:34 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Photo courtesy of CGA.

Photo courtesy of CGA.

Taipei, May 6 (CNA) Taiwan urged China on Saturday to step up the education of its fishermen and stop them from trespassing into Taiwanese waters, after two Chinese fishermen were injured while trying to resist inspection by Taiwan Coast Guard officials near the Penghu archipelago in the Taiwan Strait.

The boat, from Guangdong Province's Nan'ao County, was detected 23 nautical miles west of Penghu's western-most Huayu Islet at around 5:20 a.m. Saturday and refused to stop for inspection, despite several warning broadcasts, according to the Coast Guard Administration.

Coast guard officers fired rubber bullets to force the boat to stop, injuring two of the crew members in the legs during the confrontation, the Coast Guard said. They were sent to a hospital for treatment and are in stable condition.

In Beijing, China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) expressed "indignation" over what it called Taiwan's "seizure and arrest for no good reasons" and urged Taiwan to release the boat and crew as soon as possible.

"We demand the Taiwan side to launch an investigation immediately into this incident, release the crew and the boat as soon as possible, and stop similar incidents happening again," said An Fengshan, spokesman for the TAO.

The Mainland Affairs Council said China has imposed a moratorium on its fishing boats, but cannot stop many of them from violating their own government rules.

"Mainland fishing boats have violated Taiwan's law and repeatedly engaged in illegal fishing, seriously affecting Taiwanese fishermen's rights and interests," MAC said.

Last year, Taiwan's coast guard chased away 1,325 trespassing Chinese fishing boats, detaining 108 of them; as of the end of April this year, coast guard have driven away 346 encroaching Chinese fishing boats and taken 36 under custody, according to the Coast Guard Administration (CGA).

In January, 2017, the captain of a Fujian-based fishing boat had three of his fingers cut off while resisting Taiwanese coast guard officers from checking on his boat; in February, another Fujian-based fishing boat rammed at Taiwan's coast guard ship, according to the CGA.

It said it has on many occasions requested China to rein in its own fishing boats, based on a cross-strait agreement on joint efforts to combat crime, but to no avail.

CGA said it will continue to enforce the law. Saturday's seizure of the Guangdong-based boat was by no means an act of no good reasons, it said.

To more effectively stop such incidents, Taiwan has toughened its law by raising the maximum fine on violators to NT$10 million.

(By Kao Chao-fen and S.C. Chang)
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