Taiwan's Matsu Islands set up homeland security platform

Matsu authorities set up platform Monday as part of efforts to crack down on criminal activities

(Photo from Liangchiang District Prosecutor's Office)

(Photo from Liangchiang District Prosecutor's Office)

Law enforcement authorities on the Matsu Islands set up a platform Monday as part of their efforts to crack down on criminal activities, according to the Liangchiang District Prosecutor's Office.

The platform was set up due to growing abuse of the islands, located less than 20 kilometers from China's coast, as a transit point for people and goods from China trying to enter Taiwan illegally, the office said in a statement.

The office said local law enforcement authorities have handled six cases involving dozens of stowaways, one human trafficking case, two cases of poaching sea sand, six cases of illegal fishing, and several cases of mushroom and cigarette smuggling over the past six months.

The attempts by stowaways to enter Taiwan through the Taiwan-held Matsu Islands have been on the rise and have affected local social order and posed a threat to national security, Chief Prosecutor Yu Hsiu-tuan (俞秀端) said, without providing any details of such problems.

In the past, stowaways often used intermediaries at sea to pick them up and take them to Nangan or Xiju islands to wait for a good opportunity to sneak into Taiwan proper, Yu said.

But it was found recently that Chinese nationals were sailing directly to Dongyin and Beigan islands before proceeding to Taiwan proper with fake documents through the help of human trafficking rings, she said.

Some criminals on Taiwan proper have also used the same approach to enter China with false documents, using the Matsu Islands as a transit point, according to Yu.

The Matsu Islands are a minor archipelago of 36 islands and islets in the East China Sea administered as Lienchiang County, which is also the northernmost administrative area actually ruled by the Republic of China (Taiwan).