A Taiwan fishing boat carrying illegal Vietnamese immigrants was intercepted off the coast of Yilan Friday night and 46 people were arrested, the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) said Saturday.
It said 40 of the people arrested were illegal Vietnamese immigrants -- 25 men and 15 women -- who were packed into a space that was only 1.2 meters high.
The other six people were the captain and crew of the Wun Shun Man No. 66 (???66?), a fishing vessel registered in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, the CGA said.
The boat was intercepted 9.2 nautical miles off the coast of Yilan in northeastern Taiwan after the CGA received a tipoff that it was carrying illegal immigrants, said Shen Da-wei (???), deputy chief of CGA's Northern Coastal Patrol Office.
The captain of the boat, Chen Fu-chung (???), and the crew -- two Taiwanese and three Indonesians � were arrested, along with the 40 illegal immigrants, and turned over to the Yilan Prosecutors Office for investigation into alleged violations of the Immigration Act, Shen said.
The CGA said the illegal Vietnamese immigrants had first entered mainland China, where they boarded the Taiwanese fishing boat and embarked on a trip that took about four days.
According to the CGA, the immigrants were charged US$4,000 to US$6,500 each for the trip on the boat, which it said has a record of cigarette smuggling.
Shen said data shows that Vietnamese immigrants trying to enter Taiwan illegally would usually pool money to buy a boat in mainland China and then abandon the vessel once it reached Taiwan.
He said Saturday's case was an indication that they were changing tactics.
The arrest broke a record as it was the largest number of Vietnamese ever detained in Taiwan for attempting illegal entry, according to the CGA.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel