A group of Taiwanese Diaoyu Islands activists yesterday returned to a northern Taiwan fishing port after an aborted landing attempt in a lone fishing boat. 'I'm disappointed that we were unable to make it this time,' protest leader Chin Chieh-shou said after the vessel's late afternoon arrival at Shenao. 'But didn't Sun Yat-sen try to stage a revolution 10 times before he was finally successful?' Mr Chin, who took five fellow activists and eight reporters aboard the Hsin Hai Yang, said three Japanese Marine Police boats surrounded the fishing vessel about two nautical miles off the Diaoyus. The uninhabited islands, forming a rocky outcrop in the East China Sea, are claimed by Taipei, Beijing and Tokyo. Controversy over ownership of the islands flared after a right-wing Japanese group landed there last July and erected a makeshift lighthouse, a move followed by more landings in recent months. Last year, protesters from Hong Kong and Taiwan, including Mr Chin, successfully broke through a Japanese coastguard armada and briefly landed on the islands, raising the flags of both Beijing and Taipei. Unlike the last protest voyage, which saw a joint Taiwan-Hong Kong flotilla fail to land on the islands in May, Mr Chin left Shenao port quietly on Monday afternoon in the hope of avoiding widespread publicity that could alert Japanese patrol boats. He said his vessel followed a roundabout course to the island chain, but that it was not enough to outwit Japan's coastguard, who managed to frighten off the fishing boat captain with threats to ram his vessel. The boat turned around and headed for home after four protesters briefly threw bottles and shouted slogans at the coastguard vessels. Mr Chin said protesters planned to buy their own boat for future Diaoyu voyages.