Stowaway traffic to Japan increases

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 May, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 May, 1994, 12:00am

IN spite of counter measures taken by the Chinese authorities, the traffic in stowaways is increasing on the China-Japan route, according to the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO).

The council has asked shipowners whose vessels trade on the route to inform their masters to enforce strict onboard security and check all empty containers before loading.

Reports from the Far East over the past few months have indicated that increasing numbers of ''illegal immigrants'' are leaving the mainland for Japan, according to BIMCO Weekly News.

The increased traffic was illustrated by a report from a Japanese newspaper revealing information of an incident in March where a group of 91 refugees from Fuchou (79 men and 12 women) were arrested by the Wakayama Prefecture Police during the night at Wabuka, a fishing resort.

A further 16 suspects holding passports from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore were arrested when assisting the 91 refugees in their attempts to escape in rented trucks.

The vessels which brought the 91 people to Wabuka were not located by the Japanese authorities.

The landing spot has been under police surveillance since December when another illegal immigrant was arrested and five bodies were found.