Taiwanese fishing boat freed after paying fine in Philippines

Manila, May 14 (CNA) A Taiwanese fishing boat that has been detained in northern Philippines since May 7 was released Thursday after paying a fine of US$50,000, officials said. Hung Tien-ting (???), captain of Pingtung-based Sheng Feng No. 12 (??12?), said he and his crew will continue with their fishing voyage before sailing back to Taiwan -- to make up for the loss of being imposed quite a hefty fine. He thanked officials at Taiwan's representative office in the Philippines for having worked non-stop to help secure their early release. The Manila-based Taiwanese diplomats called Hung to bid him bon voyage after Pan Shao-chun, a junior official, helped the Taiwanese crew secure immigration papers to leave Basco, the capital of Batanes, the Philippines' northernmost province. The Sheng Feng No. 12, with two Taiwanese and four Indonesians on board, was passing through waters 6.5 nautical miles from Yami island, among the Batanes island group on May 7 when inspectors on a Philippine ship approached and boarded the fishing boat to investigate suspected poaching. (By Emerson Lim and S.C. Chang)