Sat, Jul 07, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Officers intercept boat smuggling Chinese nationals

TIP-OFF The Coast Guard said it had been informed months ago that a human trafficking ring was using a fishing boat to regularly smuggle illegal migrants

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

Coast Guard Administration (CGA) forces detained members of a cross-strait human trafficking ring in the wee hours of yesterday morning, bringing in nine suspects, including six illegal Chinese immigrants, police in Chiayi reported.

CGA squads from southern Taiwan, led by Chiayi CGA personnel, intercepted a Kaohsiung-based fishing boat, the Sheng Chang Fa No. 3, immediately after it sailed out of a fishing port in Kaohsiung.

The boat left the port on the pretense of making a normal fishing trip.

The CGA discovered four male and two female Chinese nationals hidden in concealed cabins on the boat, each of whom said they had paid NT$50,000 to the owner of the boat to smuggle them back to China.

The six Chinese nationals and three Taiwanese crew members, including boat owner Yang Ming-hui (楊明輝), were handed over to the Chiayi District Prosecutor's Office for interrogation, marking the first case in which a fishing boat has been caught returning illegal immigrants to China from Taiwan, Chiayi police said.

The Chinese nationals said that they had traveled by bus from Taipei and Taichung to Kaohsiung and paid NT$50,000 each to Yang.

They said that Yang hid them in concealed cabins on his boat and departed.

Yang said the six Chinese nationals were to be transferred to a Chinese fishing boat once the Sheng Chang Fa No. 3 reached the open sea.

Chiayi CGA officers said that they had been informed several months ago that a cross-strait human trafficking ring was using Yang's boat to smuggle Chinese citizens into or out of Taiwan during its regular fishing outings, mostly from southern ports.

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