Chinese poachers who flew inverted PH flag pay P9-M fine
TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines—Ten Chinese poachers, who were caught last month sailing with an inverted Philippine flag, had paid P9 million as a settlement fine in exchange for their liberty.
The Chinese vessel was caught on May 25 sailing through Babuyan Claro in the Calayan Group of Islands in Cagayan province. A Philippine flag flown with its red field on top signifies that the country is at war.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said the P9-million fine paid by Liang Gui, Su Jia Ying, Zhang Ceng Fu, Wang Sheng Li, Shun Ji Ting, Zhuo Dao Jie, Wang Jia Yuan, Zhao Lian Zhau, Ye Xiao Jian and Xie Yong Feng “marked the first time provisions of the newly enacted Republic Act No. 10654 had been put to use.”
That law was enacted to prevent and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in the country.
The fine, paid on June 21, should discourage poaching in Philippine waters, said Milagros Morales, BFAR director in Cagayan.
BFAR National Director Asis Perez accepted the Chinese fishermen’s offer to pay a fine, citing fisheries regulations which allow amicable settlement to expedite administrative proceedings and avoid expensive litigation.
Families of the fishermen paid the fine, said lawyer Samuel Agaloos, chief of the BFAR Cagayan legal management and regulatory enforcement office.
The Chinese fishermen, who remained under BFAR custody, would undergo summary deportation proceedings to be facilitated by the Bureau of Immigration, Agaloos said. On June 22, their photographs and personal information were recorded by local officials, a requirement before the National Bureau of Investigation could issue them their clearance.
Agaloos said they have not been informed when they would transport the fishermen to the Bureau of Immigration office for their return to China.
Rommel Diciano, a Cagayan fishery law enforcer, said the Chinese vessel, “M/V Lady Luck 020,” tried to mislead authorities by flying the inverted Philippine flag. Its stern bore the word “Subic.”
But when the fishermen were accosted at sea by agents of BFAR and the Philippine Coast Guard, they failed to present documents that would justify their presence in Philippine waters, Diciano said.
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