Fourteen undocumented Vietnamese immigrants were apprehended on Saturday onboard a Taiwanese fishing boat in waters off Tainan, the Coast Guard Administration said on Sunday.
The Pingtung Reconnaissance Brigade intercepted the fishing boat after receiving a tip that a human trafficking syndicate planned to smuggle Vietnamese nationals via China to Taiwan, the coast guard said in a statement.
Before dawn on Saturday, coast guard officers intercepted the fishing boat and found the 14 Vietnamese along with three Taiwanese, who allegedly arranged passage for them into Taiwan, it said.
The Vietnamese — eight males and six females — were being smuggled in to Taiwan to work, the coast guard said.
They are being held for questioning and will be turned over to the National Immigration Agency’s Pingtung Specialized Operation Brigade for deportation, it said.
Incidents like this are not uncommon. On June 13, 19 undocumented Vietnamese posing as tourists were apprehended in Lienchiang County.
They were brought to Matsu by human trafficking rings and were supposed to enter Taiwan proper posing as tourists on ferries, authorities said.
In January 2017, 40 undocumented Vietnamese were intercepted on a Taiwanese fishing boat off Sandiaojiao (三貂角) in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮), said to be the biggest in terms of the number of undocumented Vietnamese caught in the past few years.
Investigations have shown that Vietnamese pay as much as US$7,000 to enter Taiwan to work illegally.