Claim man who crossed Taiwan Strait in dinghy investigated

Claim man who crossed sea in dinghy investigated
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Daily US Times: Taiwanese police said that a Chinese man crossed the Taiwan Strait, which is one of the most highly militarised waters, in a small rubber dinghy Saturday in search of “freedom and democracy.” Taiwan says it is investigating the matter.

The 33-year-old Chinese man, only identified by his surname Zhou, told police that he crossed the 100-mile stretch in search of “freedom and democracy”.

The Taiwan Strait is one of the most heavily policed waterways in the world patrolled by both Chinese and Taiwanese navy and coastguard vessels.

Authorities in Taiwan are looking into whether security “shortcomings” had made the journey possible.

The man was spotted on late Friday evening near the port of Taichung after travelling from Quanzhou in Fujian province on China’s south-eastern coast, according to the Washington Post.

Mr Zhou had made the journey in a 8.8 feet by 5 feet rubber dinghy he had bought on the internet and fitted with an outboard motor, Washington Post reported. The Chinese man carried 90 litres of fuel and essentially no other belongings.

Police say Mr Zhou told them he wanted to move to Taiwan to seek political sanctuary.

He is currently being held in a detention centre and undergoing a 14-day quarantine. He could face a fine of up to 90,000 New Taiwan dollars (£2,315; $3220) and up to three years in prison.

While in the past there have been defections between the two sides in the Taiwan Strait- and some Chinese nationals have flown to Taiwan to ask for sanctuary – journeys across the strait are rare.

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