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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, August 30, 2002

Chinese nationals held on Big Island

By Hugh Clark
Advertiser Big Island Bureau

KEAUHOU, Hawai'i — The crew of a Taiwanese fishing boat is under investigation for possible smuggling of Chinese nationals after nine men were rounded up in Kona this week.

Donald Radcliffe, district director of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, said the nine illegal aliens will face deportation proceedings today and likely will be sent home to Fujian province in southwest China.

It is believed the men, ranging in age from 26 to 45, came ashore about

10:30 p.m. Monday after the unidentified vessel ran aground off Keauhou. The damaged fishing boat made it back out to sea, but was located by the Coast Guard and was being towed to Ho-nolulu yesterday.

The boat's captain and engineer, who are believed to be Taiwanese, will be investigated on possible alien smuggling charges, Radcliffe said.

The Coast Guard notified police Monday night that a fishing boat might be grounded off the west side of the Big Island and that several Chinese Nationals might have left the vessel. At 8:45 p.m. Tuesday, police received a report that several Chinese-speaking men had walked to a home on upper Walua Road and asked to use a telephone.

Police took the men to the Kona Police Station, and the following morning picked up the remaining three at a shopping center.

Radcliffe said the men did not appear to have any relatives in West Hawai'i, but perhaps tried to make contact with an unidentified person who failed to show up when they first reached shore.

He said this sort of event has become a regular occurrence on Guam, but is unusual for Hawai'i.