Six Indonesians detained over Taiwanese fishermen's deaths
CNATAIPEI--Six Indonesian crewmen suspected of murdering the skipper and chief engineer of a Taiwanese fishing boat in mid-July have been detained, while three others have been referred to the Indonesian authorities in Taiwan, the Yilan District Prosecutors' Office said yesterday.
August 22, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
Six of the nine Indonesians employed on the Suao-registered Te Hung Hsing No. 368 are suspected of involvement in throwing the deep-sea fishing boat's skipper, Chen Te-sheng, and chief engineer, Ho Chang-lin, overboard in the eastern Pacific, Yilan prosecutors said after questioning the crewmen.
A senior Indonesian crewman had an argument with Chen over work assignments. The sparring later developed into a conflict in which the Indonesia is alleged to have attacked Chen with a plastic float. Chen then fell into coma and other Indonesian workers allegedly threw him overboard, followed by Ho.
The boat was later intercepted by two Coast Guard Administration (CGA) patrol vessels and towed back to Suao Tuesday, where the suspects were referred to prosecution authorities for questioning.
The three who were handed over to the Indonesian authorities in Taiwan are suspected of illegally taking control of the vessel and causing damage to property, according to the prosecutor's office.
The Te Hung Hsing No. 368 left Nanfangao in Yilan County Jan. 18 to fish in the eastern Pacific. It lost contact with the ship's owner in Yilan July 16.
The CGA was informed two days later that the ship's skipper and chief engineer, the only two Taiwanese on board, had not been in contact for three days. At the time, the fishing boat was some 5,910 nautical miles (about 10,945 km) southeast of Eluanbi at the southernmost tip of Taiwan.
The CGA patrol vessel Hsunhu No. 7 caught up with the fishing boat in waters 623 nautical miles southwest of the Republic of Kiribati July 27. Coast Guard officers did not find any sign of the boat's skipper or chief engineer upon boarding and searching the boat.
The CGA then sent another patrol vessel, the Hsunhu No. 8, to help with the investigation.