Boat crews held after harbour cable stolen

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 November, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 November, 2004, 12:00am

Twelve people on board three fishing boats were arrested by marine police early yesterday for allegedly pulling up 275 metres of communication cable from the bottom of Victoria Harbour.

A police spokeswoman said the emergency unit received a call at 3am, when a man who was standing at the Star Ferry Pier in Central reported seeing the three fishing boats hauling cable from the harbour.

Marine police were sent to chase the boats, two of which were intercepted near the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai, the spokeswoman said.

The third boat was picked up by police in the Tuen Mun Typhoon Shelter later.

'We have found 275 metres of communication cable, in diameters ranging from one, four and six inches, on board the three boats,' the spokeswoman said.

Police were still investigating the source of the cable as well as its use.

'So far, we have no idea who the owner is and we have not received any calls from any communication companies to say that their networks have been affected,' the spokeswoman added.

Ten men and two women, who were aged between 19 and 49, on the boats were arrested by marine police.

Of the arrested, five are holders of mainland identity documents.

'We are still investigating if their stay in Hong Kong is legal or not,' the spokeswoman said.

The three fishing boats and those arrested were last night being held at marine police headquarters in Sai Wan Ho.