A fishing boat whose skipper was allegedly killed by two Chinese crewmembers on the high seas near the Japanese island of Iwo Jima returned to Taiwan yesterday.
The Hsinglung returned to the port of Suao in Ilan County under the escort of a coast guard patrol vessel. The two Chinese fishermen -- Yang Jietsong (楊杰聰), 22, and Huang Tapao (黃大炮), 23 -- who are suspected of having murdered skipper Chen Mu-tsai (陳木財), 50, were turned over to the Yilan Prosecutors' Office for questioning.
The Hsinglung left Yilan's Nanfanao Harbor in March for fishing operations in waters east of Iwo Jima. On board were the skipper, the Taiwanese chief engineer Huang Chin-hsin (
Coast guard official Wang Yun-huei (王雲輝) said investigations indicated that on June 10, the skipper clashed with Yang and Huang in a bitter argument and that the two crew men later allegedly stabbed him to death. His body was put on ice in the cabin of the boat.
The two had attempted to sabotage the satellite telephone and communication equipment after killing the skipper, according to Wang.
They had also wanted to flee to China but later decided to return to Taiwan to face justice after taking the advice of the other crewmembers.
Huang later sent out a distress call for assistance. A coast guard patrol vessel intercepted the fishing boat on June 16 and escorted it back to Taiwan.
The case marks the second time in less than two years that the fishing boat's two Taiwanese officers were overpowered by Chinese crew members. In August 2004, Chen and Huang were held hostage by nine Chinese crewmembers who then took the Hsinglung to Hawaii.
Chen had served as a skipper on the ship for more than a decade. According to media reports, because he had often run into trouble with crewmembers hired from Pingtan, Fujian Province, he decided to hire crew from Zhangzhou, also in Fujian Province, this year. However, he had also experienced problems with them.
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