Diaoyu group refuses to pay $140,000 boat bill

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 October, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 October, 1997, 12:00am

Diaoyu activists who had to abort a recent protest voyage said yesterday they would offer only a dinghy in repayment for the $140,000 demanded by the protest boat owner for damage to the vessel.

Splits between two Diaoyu groups deepened as the boat owner, the Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands, demanded compensation while the other group, Bao Diao Ho, which borrowed the vessel for a trip to the islands last month, refused to pay.

Action Committee member Law Hom-chau said the $140,000 included $90,000 in maintenance costs for the vessel, which was damaged after it ran aground.

Mr Law said the other $50,000 included the cost of taking the boat back from Taiwan to Hong Kong after the Bao Diao Ho crew decided to call off their trip. He said a bill would be sent to the group members.

'We can do nothing if they refuse to pay it . . . but they should have a moral responsibility to fund the maintenance for the boat purchased with public donations,' Mr Law said.

Wong Wai-ming from Bao Diao Ho said: 'We can only give them the rubber dinghy. We have no money.

'We don't want to argue with them over such trivial matters. We should set our goal at how to reclaim China's sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands from the Japanese.' Mr Wong said they would raise money to buy their own boat for a trip to the islands next year.