Philippines deports 9 Chinese poachers

A chinese poacher

A chinese poacher

The Philippines has deported nine Chinese fishermen jailed for one year for poaching endangered sea turtles in the country’s exclusive economic zone, officials said on Monday.

According to immigration spokeswoman, Elaine Tan, the fishermen were imprisoned after they failed to pay the fine for the offence.

Coast guard officers recovered hundreds of sea turtles, which were protected species under Philippine law, from the fishermen’s 15-ton boat near Half Moon Shoal in the disputed Spratly Islands.

“The Chinese fishermen were released after serving subsidiary imprisonment for failure to pay the imposed fines of 100,000 dollars each for poaching and 100,000 pesos, approximately 2,220 dollars each for catching endangered species,’’ Tan said.

The arrest in 2014 came amid heightened tensions between Beijing and Manila over territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

The Philippines has filed an arbitration case in the UN, questioning China’s claim to nearly the entire area, a key shipping lane in the region and believed to be rich in mineral resources.

The Philippines has also accused China of aggressively reclaiming territories in the South China Sea, which were also claimed in part by Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

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