Taiwan investigating reports ship captain assaulted Indonesian sailor

CNA file photo of a Taiwanese fishing vessel for illustrative purpose only.

TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency said Thursday that it is investigating Indonesian media reports that a Taiwanese fishing boat captain assaulted an Indonesian crew member while in Sri Lankan waters, and said the man will face criminal charges if the allegations can be verified.

Several Indonesian news outlets reported Thursday that a Taiwanese fishing boat captain beat up an Indonesian sailor in waters off Sri Lanka, and was then assaulted by a group of angry crew members after the ship reached port.

Alleged video recordings of the latter incident show a man being dragged out a ship’s cabin and punched repeatedly by a group of around 10 people. Several people on the ship appear to try and stop the attack, while others look on from a neighboring vessel.

In the video, voices can be heard shouting in Indonesian: “Just because we are at sea doesn’t mean you can call us pigs and dogs,” and “We can earn money anywhere, but we will do it with dignity!”

In response to the allegations, Fisheries Agency Deputy Director General Lin Kuo-ping (林國平) said that if either the captain or ship registration is Taiwanese and the abuse of a crew member can be proven, the captain can be turned over to prosecutors and charged under Taiwan’s Human Trafficking Prevention Act.