The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has apprehended 25 Chinese fishermen suspected of poaching on Philippine waters. The group was intercepted aboard two boats near the waters off Batanes.
The fishermen apparently had an inverted Philippine flag on each boat so they could blend in with the locals, Philstar reported.
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Director Asis Perez said it was easy to presume that the fishermen were engaged in poaching based on the usage of the flags.
“There seems to be an attempt to conceal the vessels’ true identity to enable them to engage in fishing activity in Philippine waters,” Perez told reporters.
PCG Lt. Jeffrey Collado, leader of the team that apprehended the fishermen, said the Chinese insisted that they were just passing through Philippine waters. Collado found the explanation highly unlikely.
“The Chinese fishermen said they were headed West but then their route showed that they were not moving westward but toward Cagayan Island, a known fishing ground,” revealed Lt. Collado.
He added that the fishermen were unable to present them with documents that would show they were permitted to be in the area where they were caught.
The fishermen have been brought to Basco, Batanes for further investigation. Meanwhile, the Foreign Affairs department was tasked to notify the Chinese embassy.
Photo credit: GMA News