23 Viet­nam stow­aways found in the seas off Hs­inchu coast

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY SUN HSIN- HSUAN

Twenty-three Viet­namese stow­aways were found aboard a tiny wooden boat only just slightly larger than a bamboo raft the night be­fore yes­ter­day in the seas off Nan­liao Fish­ing Har­bor ( ), said Hs­inchu coast­guards­men. The coast­guards­men de­tected an uniden­ti­fied ob­ject on their radar around 11 p.m. on April 14, dis­cov­er­ing the wooden boat drift­ing in wa­ters out­side Nan­liao Fish­ing Har­bor. The stow­aways were wait­ing for the best time to bring the boat ashore, of­fi­cials said.

Twenty-three male Viet­namese stow­aways crammed the deck of the poorly equipped boat that was meant to ac­com­mo­date no more than 10 peo­ple, leav­ing barely any space for the coast­guards­men to walk. With the boat filled over ca­pac­ity, “it was ex­tremely danger­ous to be drift­ing in the wa­ters that night with the wind be­gin­ning to stir up heavy waves,” said one of the coast­guards­men.

Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials, all 23 stow­aways were as­sisted onto Coast Guard ves­sels for safety rea­sons, and it wasn’t un­til 6 a.m. yes­ter­day morn­ing that they were guided into the har­bor for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

It is now un­der­stood that the stow­aways came from Ping­tan (

), main­land China. Many of the stow­aways had al­ready il­le­gally im­mi­grated to Tai­wan, but were later de­ported. In or­der to earn a living, how­ever, they once again at­tempted to en­ter Tai­wan, this time on a small boat pur­chased in the main­land. They were hop­ing to earn NT$30,000 per month af­ter ar­riv­ing, the stow­aways said.

The Coast Guard guar­an­teed that coast­line mon­i­tor­ing and con­trol will be en­hanced as the shores of Hs­inchu are the clos­est to China.

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