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Taiwanese woman, American man accused of theft for taking driftwood

Woman says they had no idea they had broken law when they picked up driftwood on beach

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(Coast Guard Administration photo)

(Coast Guard Administration photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Taichung woman and her American friend were referred to the prosecutors’ office on suspicion of theft after they picked up nearly half a ton of driftwood from an estuary in Hualien County on Monday (Jan. 3).

Coast Guard Administration (CGA) Eastern Branch official Chou Bing-chuan (周炳全) said on Tuesday the Coast Guard spotted the pair on the beach north of the estuary of the Hualien River on Monday afternoon, CNA reported. They questioned a 31-year-old woman, surnamed Huang (黃), a male American friend, 32, and saw a van stuffed full of driftwood.

The Coast Guard members immediately notified Hualien Forest District Office and police to assist in handling the case. Huang told the coast guard they lived in Hualien and the driftwood was to be used as firewood.

She added they were unaware they had broken the law when they picked up the wood, per CNA. Chou said the driftwood weighed 440 kilograms and the pair were referred to Hualien District Prosecutors Office on suspicion of theft.

The CGA said that driftwood along the coast is national property, and members of the public should not take it. Picking up driftwood from the seashore is only allowed when the local government gives permission, the report said.

Taiwanese woman, American man accused of theft for taking driftwood
(Coast Guard Administration photo)