Five Chinese arrested for illegal sand dredging off Kinmen

Taipei, Jan. 8 (CNA) Five Chinese deckhands on a sand dredger have been arrested in waters off the outlying island of Kinmen for illegal sand dredging, the Kinmen Coast Guard said Sunday. Coast guard vessels intercepted the Fujian-registered Hairun No. 668 at around 6 p.m. Saturday and seized about 300 tons of sand. The boat had trespassed into waters off northeastern Kinmen and had illegally dredged sand from the seabed there, the coast guard said. Chinese sand dredgers often trespass into Kinmen's waters, which are only a few kilometers away from Fujian Province, the coast guard said. There is high demand for sand and gravel in the coastal China province because new airports are being built there. The latest case was referred to the Kinmen District Prosecutors' Office. The detained crew members could face fines for violation of the National Security Act. (By Chen Shou-kuo and Kendra Lin)