A Taiwanese has been arrested for illegal fishing in the Philippines, police said Thursday as the two neighbors try to mend fences after the shooting death of another Taiwanese fisherman in May.
Tsai Po, 54, was detained on Tuesday while diving for lobsters off the coast in the Philippines’ Batan group of islands near the maritime border with Taiwan, provincial police officer Victor de Sagon told AFP.
“They have been doing this for a long time. This is rampant poaching,” said de Sagon, adding that Tsai was among a group of suspects who were illegally fishing just off Siayan island.
He will be charged with poaching, which is punishable by a $100,000 fine, confiscation of his catch, fishing equipment and fishing vessel, the officer added.
De Sagon rejected reports in the Taiwanese press that the detained suspect had been treated roughly.
“We are not violating his rights. He is being fed well, he underwent a medical check-up, and he is in regular contact with his wife and the (de facto) Taiwanese embassy in Manila,” de Sagon said.
Tsai, contacted by phone by AFP from Taipei, said he did not understand why he was detained because he spoke no English.
He claimed that he was in Taiwanese waters when taken into custody by people “who were in plain clothes and acted like pirates.”