Wed, Jan 22, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Foreign ministry presses Jakarta over missing men

CNA , TAIPEI

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is continuing to press Indonesia for help in finding the missing crew of the fishing boat High Aim 6 that was recently found abandoned in Australian waters.

Captain Chen Tai-cheng (陳泰成) and chief engineer Lin Chung-li (林中立) are feared to have been thrown overboard or killed by the their Indonesian crew, ministry officials said.

The ministry has also asked the Indonesian government to help track down nine crewmembers.

According to a Jan. 19 report from the Indonesian police headquarters, police in Bitung, North Sulawesi Province, nabbed a suspect who admitted that he was one of the 10 Indonesians that the High Aim 6 recruited in early November to fish in waters near the Marshall Islands.

Police say the man told them his nine colleagues had fled and probably returned to their homes in central Java, while Chen and Lin had been killed.

Police in several Indonesian provinces have been informed about the nine suspects and the fact that Lin's cellphone had been repeatedly used between Jan. 1 to Jan. 10, ministry officials said.

According to Lin's wife, a bill for more than NT$40,000 from Chunghua Telecom shows that Lin's cellphone had been repeatedly used during that time. All 87 calls that were made from Lin's phone were made in Bali.

Lin's family has said they last heard from him on Dec. 5.

High Aim 6 departed Tungkang on Oct. 31 for Indonesia. The boat was found drifting in waters near Broome, Australia on Jan. 3, with no one aboard. Australian authorities had it towed into Broome on Jan. 10 for examination.

Chen and Lin's families fear the men were either abducted or thrown overboard -- either by pirates or by their crewmen.

According officials from the Hsiaoliuchio Fishermen's Association, the High Aim 6 arrived in Bitung on Nov. 7 and was preparing to head for the Marshall Islands to fish.

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