18 Apr 2012

Chinese illegal fishers leave Palau following guilty plea and jail

4:43 pm on 18 April 2012

A group of Chinese men caught fishing illegally in Palau has returned home following a 17-day jail term and payment by China's government of 25,000 US dollars.

The Palau president's spokesperson says the 25 men and the body of another killed by Palauan authority gunfire have been flown back to China in a chartered plane today.

The men were spotted fishing in Palauan conservation waters at the end of March and in court pleaded guilty to one charge of illegal entry and another of illegal fishing.

Fermin Meriang says the maximum penalty for illegal fishing is 250,000 US dollars and two years in jail.

"However because they burned their mother ship and sank it Palau was not able to secure whatever cargo there was on the ship, the mother ship, that would have been used as evidence in court."

Fermin Meriang says the Chinese government has not acknowledged the illegality of the men's actions but demanded an apology and compensation for the dead man's family.