MANILA - Taiwan has detained 13 Chinese fishermen for alleged illegal fishing off Taiwanese shores earlier this week, its Central News Agency said Wednesday.
Taiwan's Coast Guard Administration caught the Chinese fishermen on March 23 near Pengjia Islet, a resource-rich area about 14 nautical miles off the coast of Keelung, a major port city situated in the northeastern Taiwan, the report said.
The Chinese trawler tried to flee after Taiwanese authorities requested an inspection but was intercepted, according to the report.
About 2,000 kilograms of live fish were found aboard "Min Jin Yu 05369," a Chinese fishing vessel that had sailed from China's Fujian Province on March 19, it said.
The Chinese boat was escorted to Zhengbin fishing port in Keelung City, where its 13 crew members were detained, pending further investigation, according to Taiwanese media reports.
Under Taiwan's laws, the maximum fine for illegal fishing is NT$2.4 million (US$84,200). China regards Taiwan as a renegade province, while the latter has been asserting sovereignty.
The incident came days after 220 Chinese militia vessels were seen moored near the Julian Felipe Reef in the West Philippine Sea, the Philippines' exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the disputed South China Sea.
Chinese incursions in disputed parts of the South China Sea have continued despite a 2016 Hague ruling that invalidated China's sweeping claims in the strategic waterway where about $3 billion in goods pass annually.
Aside from Taiwan and the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam also have overlapping claims with China in the South China Sea.