Chinese man swims 7 hours to Kinmen while chewing chili peppers for warmth

Chinese man arrested after swimming 7 hours to Kinmen with only 3 children's swim rings for flotation

(Kinmen Coast Guard photo)

(Kinmen Coast Guard photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A Chinese man was arrested by Coast Guard officers on Tuesday morning (Aug. 6) after he swam seven hours from China to Taiwan's Kinmen County with only three children's swimming rings for flotation and chili peppers to "keep him warm."

At around 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, Kinmen Coast Guard officers spotted a suspicious person on the beach of Lieyu Township in Kinmen. He had apparently swum ashore while floating on child swim rings.

When officers questioned him, they found that he was a 27-year-old Chinese man surnamed Chang (常), reported the Liberty Times. When he was approached by Coast Guard officers, he was still wearing a swimming ring around his waist with two other rings and a styrofoam float tied to him.

Chang being arrested. (Coast Guard photo)

Chang was found to be carrying his ID card and 1,381 in Chinese yuan. He had also brought with him an extra set of clothes and a pair of camouflage sneakers, all of which were soaking wet.

Officials said that he was of average stature and spoke Mandarin with a Shandong accent. When asked why he was carrying two bags of chili peppers, he said that they were food for his journey and to "keep him warm while crossing the sea," according to the report.

When officers asked about his home phone number, he oddly said that he would tell them once he got back to Shandong. His strange response mystified Coast Guard personnel.

Chang showing officer where he swam from. (Coast Guard photo)

Kinmen Coastal Patrol Unit Captain Wu Chien-kuan (吳建冠) suggested Chang may have a criminal record in China and would not able to go abroad through standard legal channels. Wu said Chang had apparently spent 90 Chinese yuan on swimming rings and entered the water from the Xiamen Convention and Exhibition Center late Monday night and swam for seven hours to reach Kinmen, reported the Liberty Times.

After being questioned by Coast Guard personnel, Chang was transferred to the Kinmen Prosecutor's Office on charges of violating the Immigration Act (入出國及移民法).

Items seized from Chang. (Coast Guard photo)

Chang being taken away for questioning. (Coast Guard photo)

Officer holding chili peppers Chang had carried. (Coast Guard photo)