Taipei questions Manila over fisherman's arrest

Taipei questions Manila over fisherman's arrest
Tsai Po, 54 (L-in red), a Taiwanese fisherman, on board his fishing boat with unidentified police officers.

TAIPEI - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has continued to push Philippine authorities to explain its arrest and detainment of a Taiwanese fisherman on Tuesday. MOFA has also demanded that the Philippines ensure the fisherman is treated humanely.

James Chou, deputy chief of MOFA's Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, told reporters that the lone operator of the raft, Tsai Po, was arrested by Philippine authorities at 3 p.m. on Tuesday at a small islet named Ditarem near the island of Batanes.

MOFA has established contact with Tsai and learned that he is safe and unharmed despite being confined under guard at the Basco Sea Port, Chou said.

According to Chou, Tsai told Taiwanese officials in the Philippines that he was approached and arrested by several armed non-uniformed men while he was "taking a nap" on the islet after completing his operations in nearby waters, Chou said.

Tsai is currently detained at a detention center in Basco, he added.

Chou said Tsai told MOFA officials that he was not given food for the first few hours of his detention.

In response, Taipei's office in Manila immediately protested the treatment of Tsai and the fisherman was subsequently given food, Chou said.

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