PALAU CHARGES CHINESE CREW WITH ILLEGAL FISHING

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By Nazario Rodriguez Jr.

KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, May 18) — The Palau Attorney General’s Office has filed 14 counts of criminal acts against 16 Chinese nationals apprehended by the PSS President H.I. Remeliik aboard an unlicensed fishing vessel last April 30 near Hatohobei Island.

Charged in Criminal Case No. 05-159 were Zai Ming Chen, Mei Rong Yang, Ji Ming Huang, Jin Xuan Huang, Ji Hai Huang, Jia Hau Yang, Fang Yang, Jun An He, Chuang Fan Lu, Chuang Jun Lu, Jia Guan Lu, Lon Xue, Xiang Xong Li, Ya Ming Ji, Zhi Chen Fu, and Ya Jun Xing.

Assistant Attorney General C. Quay Polloi filed the case last May 3 with the trial division of the Supreme Court.

According to the affidavit of probable cause executed by Lt. Ian Olblai Tervet, commanding officer of the PSS Remeliik, the Chinese vessel Qun Hai was found to have no fishing license and did not have a permit to enter Palau’s territorial waters.

Tervet stated that all persons aboard the vessel did not have any valid permits.

"Through a translator, we determined that the master of the vessel, Zai Ming Chen, was joint-owner and husband of Mei Rong Yang, the other joint-owner of the vessel," Tervet’s statement said.

Seven turtles, two of them barely alive, and the rest drowned, were found after apprehending officers retrieved the gill nets that the Chinese fishermen used.

The 14 counts filed against the fishermen included unlawful entry, fishing with an unlicensed foreign fishing vessel, using an unlicensed foreign fishing vessel to fish in the territorial sea, using a foreign vessel to fish for turtle, and unlawful acts.

Appearing before the court on the same day, the fishermen, represented by Public Defender Siegfried Nakamura, pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

Associate Justice Larry Miller ordered that the fishermen be remanded to the custody of the marine law enforcement division of the Bureau of Public Safety.

May 18, 2005

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