Detained fisherman may be fined for violating local law
CNATAIPEI--A Taiwanese fisherman detained in the Philippines has apparently violated Taiwanese law and will be subject to a fine of up to NT$150,000 (US$5,000) at home, an official said yesterday.
September 7, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
Yao Chih-wang, deputy director of Pingtung County's agriculture department, said the fisherman, a Pingtung resident named Tsai Po, was arrested by Philippine officers 78 miles south of the southern tip of Taiwan.
Taiwan's Fisheries Act stipulates that the rubber raft Tsai was navigating before his arrest can be operated only within 12 miles of Taiwan's coast, Yao said.
The offense carries a fine of between NT$30,000 and NT$150,000, the official said.
Yao's comment came after Taiwan's Fisheries Agency confirmed that the fisherman had operated in the Philippines' territorial waters before his arrest on Tuesday.
James Sha, director-general of the agency, said Thursday night that Tsai had been fishing in an area less than 12 miles off the coast of a Philippine island, which cannot be considered part of the two countries' overlapping economic exclusive zones.
Both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Fisheries Agency are working to have Tsai receive only a fine and be set free at an early date, Sha said.
Taiwan's government has also asked Philippine authorities not to mistreat Tsai while in detention, he said.
Past incidents indicate that the Taiwanese fisherman could be fined US$50,000. There have also been cases in which detained fishermen have decided to fight the charges in a Philippine court of law, a process that could take between one to two years.
Sha commended the Philippine authorities for notifying Taiwan soon after the incident.