The Coast Guard Administration (CGA) will send officials fluent in Indonesian to question nine Indonesian crewmembers on the fate of two missing Taiwanese fishermen, an official at the Maritime Patrol Directorate-General (MPDG) said yesterday.
MPDG chief secretary Tsai Chia-jung (蔡嘉榮) said that four members of the coast guard’s crime squad and two officials with the National Immigration Agency are expected to begin questioning the Indonesians on Aug. 11 in waters 600 nautical miles (965km) southeast of Palau.
That will bring forward the questioning by 10 days, with the Indonesians, currently onboard the CGA patrol vessel the Hsun Hu No. 7, scheduled to arrive in the fishing port of Nanfangao (南方澳) in Yilan County on Aug. 20, Tsai said.
“We hope that questioning of the suspects will begin as soon as possible to prevent them from colluding,” Tsai said.
The group of six will leave for Japan on Friday to board the Hsun Hu No. 8, another CGA vessel which is about to anchor in Tokyo for refueling, Tsai said.
Tsai said that the two CGA vessels are expected to rendezvous on Aug. 11 at the earliest.
It is suspected that the Te Hung Hsing No. 368, a deep-sea fishing boat registered in Suao (蘇澳), Yilan, was hijacked by its largely Indonesian crew after contact with the boat was lost on July 15.
The fishing boat’s Taiwanese skipper, Chen Te-sheng (陳德生), and chief engineer Ho Chang-lin (何昌琳), were not on the ship when the Hsun Hu No. 7 intercepted the fishing boat on Saturday in waters 623 nautical miles southwest of Kiribati.
It is suspected that Chen and Ho were thrown overboard although the crew could not shed any light on to the fate of the Taiwanese when they were questioned by CGA personnel on the Hsun Hu No. 7.
At a press conference organized by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Kung Wen-chi (孔文吉) yesterday, Ho Chang-lin’s brother, sister and brother-in-law called on the government to uncover the truth, to seek justice and to strengthen measures to check the backgrounds of fishermen from other countries.