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Taiwan Detains Chinese Trawler

October 19, 1999

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) _ Taiwan on Tuesday detained a Chinese fishing trawler and its crew who were suspected of trying to use nets to recover parts of a Taiwanese jet fighter that crashed late last week, a local broadcaster reported.

The vessel was captured five miles from the northwest port of Yenshui, and a detailed map of Taiwanese coastal waters was found on board, the state-run Broadcasting Corp. of China quoted police as saying.

The 18 detained crew members were suspected of trying to find pieces of the French-made Mirage jet that might reveal Taiwanese military secrets, the broadcaster quoted police as saying.

Also Tuesday, Taiwanese authorities chased away two Chinese fishing boats close to where the fighter crashed Friday, said Defense Ministry spokesman Kung Fan-Ding, who declined to provide other details.

Rough seas have hampered efforts to recover the wreckage of the Mirage 2000-5, which went down after a bird apparently got sucked into the jet’s engine, the military said. The plane’s two pilots parachuted to safety.

Taiwan and China have been rivals since they split in a civil war in 1949. But Taiwan has allowed Chinese fishing boats to seek shelter near its fishing ports in rough weather.

Update hourly