A Taiwanese fishing boat carrying Vietnamese migrants was intercepted off the coast of Yilan on Friday night and 46 people were arrested, the Coast Guard Administration said yesterday.
Forty of the people arrested were Vietnamese nationals — 25 men and 15 women — who were packed into a space only 1.2m high, the administration said.
The other six people were the captain and crew of the Wun Shun Man No. 66, a fishing vessel registered in Kaohsiung, the administration said.
The boat was intercepted 9.2 nautical miles (17km) off the coast of Yilan after the administration received a tip-off about “illegal immigrants” onboard the vessel, Northern Coastal Patrol Office deputy chief Shen Da-wei (沈大偉) said.
The boat’s captain, surnamed Chen (陳), and crew — two Taiwanese and three Indonesians — were arrested with the migrants and turned over to the Yilan Prosecutors’ Office for investigation over alleged violations of the Immigration Act (入出國及移民法), Shen said.
The Vietnamese first went to China, where they boarded the Taiwanese fishing boat for a four-day journey, the administration said.
They were charged between US$4,000 and US$6,500 each to board the boat, the administration said.
Shen said that Vietnamese immigrants trying to enter Taiwan illegally often pool their money to buy a boat in China and then abandon the vessel when it reaches Taiwan.
He said yesterday’s case was an indication that they were changing tactics.
Yesterday’s arrest was the highest number of Vietnamese detained in Taiwan for attempting illegal entry, the administration said.
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