Suao Port, Yilan county, Taiwan. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A dispute between a Filipino migrant worker who worked as a fisherman in Yilan county in northeastern Taiwan and a Taiwanese captain surnamed Jhan remains unresolved and controversial.

On May 3, the Filipino accidentally let a rope slip from his hands, provoking a Taiwanese crewman, The Liberty Times reported. He was scolded by the crewman and then by Jhan.

The two Taiwanese were accused of having pushed the Filipino toward the edge of the ship and attempting to throw him into the sea. The Filipino later sought help from the Yilan Migrant Fishermen Union (YMFU), complaining that he had been physically abused on the fishing boat.

Last month, YMFU co-founder and secretary general Allison Lee Li-hua, who was honored with a “Trafficking-in-Persons Hero” award by the US State Department the same month, held a press briefing and helped the Filipino migrant worker file a complaint to the Taipei District Prosecutors Office.

On Monday, Jhan was contacted by the prosecutors’ office and asked to assist in an investigation of a human-trafficking case.

In a media briefing on Wednesday, Jhan admitted that he had scolded the Filipino fisherman but said he had also tried to separate him from the Taiwanese crewman who was quarreling with him. He said he was disappointed by the Filipino, who had worked for him for seven years but finally “set him up”.

He said he would install cameras on his boats to avoid further disputes.

The Suao Fishermen’s Association said in the same briefing that the accusation against Jhan was groundless and untrue.

The Labor Affairs Department in Yilan county said it had helped the Filipino find another job upon his request, The Liberty Times reported.

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