14 Vietnamese nationals were suspected of being smuggled into Taiwan a few days ago. Seven of them were found dead on the west coast, and the life and death of the other seven people are currently unknown.
The Coast Guard dispatched drones to carry out coastal inspections. 20 bodies were recovered on the west coast in just over a month. Except for the nine Taiwanese who committed suicide or fell into the sea, seven were identified as Vietnamese. Prosecutors found a group photo of 14 people on the body of a deceased. Using a missing persons list provided by the Vietnamese government, investigators determined that they were on the same boat and were suspected of smuggling into Taiwan.
Lin Hung-sung, Director, Clerk Div., Taiwan High Prosecutors Office: “We are still clarifying what kind of ship they traveled on and the place where they were smuggled into Taiwan.”
The four remains that have not yet been identified are still being compared. Are they also Vietnamese nationals being smuggled? Prosecutors did not rule out the possibility. However, there are media reports that a Fujian wooden ship was found off the coast of Chiayi's Budai. The boat is suspected to be a smuggler's boat. The people traveled from North Vietnam to China's Fujian by train. They then purchased a boat together to smuggle into Taiwan, or they were arranged by a smuggling group to switch to a wooden boat after crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait. However, the Coast Guard refuted this.
Budai Fisherman: “I haven't seen any fiberglass or wooden boats lately.”
The Maritime Port Bureau pointed out a small boat was seized off Changhua's coast in early March. There was no one on board. After confirmation, the fiberglass boat was a Chinese ship that was reported missing. The ship's owner has given up the claim of the ship and entrusted the Taiwanese government to deal with it. However, the ship reappeared after more than three months of being reported as missing. Investigators are still clarifying whether it is related to this smuggling case.
Liu Mei-li, Director of PR, Maritime Port Bureau: “This fishing boat is from China. It was stranded at the mouth of Zhuoshui Creek off the coast of Changhua's Dacheng Township. Ships sailing in this area should pay attention and maintain navigation safety.”
The whole case is complicated and confusing, and there are still many questions to be solved. In addition to confirming the identities of the remaining bodies, relevant units also need to investigate whether they were accidentally killed while being smuggled, or pushed into the sea by smugglers.