Asylum Seeker Escapes China in Tiny Toy Inflatable Boat

A man from Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province was caught by patrolmen on Little Jinmen Island in the early hours April 28, after rowing a toy inflatable boat from Xiamen in the middle of the night.

The patrolmen spotted the man in the tiny boat about 50 meters from the shore at around 5.15 a.m. When he landed, they arrested the man and took him in for questioning.

Mr. Qian, a 43 year old man from Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province, claimed to be seeking freedom, and said he yearned to live among his democratic compatriots in Taiwan. He explained that he had taken a train from Hangzhou to Xiamen, where he purchased the child-sized inflatable boat for 80RMB (USD $12.30). He launched the tiny vessel from the shore of Xiamen at around 1 a.m.

Searching his belongings, the patrolmen found personal identification papers, a map of Xiamen, Chinese newspapers, a battery charger, electronic components, toiletries, sausage snacks, and jasmine tea.

Despite his claims for asylum, and the lack of contraband, his attempt to enter the country illegally will make him subject to Taiwan’s strict immigration laws, and could land him in jail for up to 3 years, with a fine of 90, 000NTD, and deportation once his sentence is served.

Police said there has been an endless stream of similar attempts to cross the border in recent years.

A man and a patrolman pack up an inflatable toy boat used to cross from China to Taiwan
Police help a man pack up his inflatable toy boat after he spent four hours on a dangerous quest for freedom . Photo: Coastal Patrol
Police on Little Kinmen Island check for contraband among the belongings of a man who sought asylum on Taiwan after rowing a toy inflatable boat from Xiamen, People's Republic of China.
Police on Little Kinmen Island check for contraband among the belongings of a man who sought asylum on Taiwan after rowing a toy inflatable boat from Xiamen, People’s Republic of China.
Defensive spikes designed to deter an invasion from China on the Island of Kinmen.
Defensive spikes designed to deter an invasion from China on the Island of Kinmen.

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