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Mainland fishermen detained for trespassing in sea off Miaoli coast

The China Post news staff --The Coast Guard Administration (CGA) yesterday detained seven fishermen from Fujian Province in southeast China for trespassing near the coastline of central Miaoli County.

CGA officials stationed in Taichung City said the mainland fishing vessel, coded “Minshiyu 07171,” entered the prohibited Taiwan economic zone for illegal fishing operations at around 3:20 a.m.

When a patrol boat reached the area — just 6.7 nautical miles from the coast — CGA officers got aboard the mainland ship for inspection.

But the captain of the mainland fishing boat refused to cooperate and suddenly jumped into the sea, vowing that he would not get out of the water unless the patrol boat left the scene.

The standoff prompted the CGA to dispatch another ship to fish the captain from water and arrest him, along with six others working on the fishing vessel at around 7 a.m.

The seven mainland fishermen were taken into custody at the CGA's branch in Taichung for further investigation. Their vessel was also detained.

Wang Cheng-shin, a CGA patrol team captain said this was third time the same vessel had been caught for illegal fishing operations near Taiwan's west coast. The vessel was driven away five times previously, according to CGA records.

He said that the nation's statute governing the relations of people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait was revised earlier this year to levy fines on trespassing mainland fishing vessels and other ships beginning on March 1 for deterrence.

A total of 117 fishing vessels based in mainland China have been booked for illegal fishing operations in Taiwan's territorial waters since March.

Total fines levied so far have amounted to NT$21.745 million.

The CGA branch in Taichung alone has seized 18 mainland fishing vessels for operating at prohibited zones along the west coast of central Taiwan. The violators from the mainland were fined a total of NT$4.58 million.

Officials said the CGA will step up national security patrols and safeguard the interests of Taiwanese fishermen.

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