Chinese man claims dodging Taiwan’s defense with Taobao-bought dinghy

Published (HKT): 2021.05.04 16:18

The Chinese man, who succeeded in crossing the highly militarized Taiwan Strait, claimed to have got his rubber dinghy from e-commerce site Taobao. But an expert suggested the man was way more prepared and sophisticated for the illegal entrance than he sounded.

Zhou was arrested at the Taichung Harbor West Wharf on April 30, after spending 16 hours crossing the Strait from Fujian province in an inflatable boat in search of “freedom and democracy.” The 33-year-old has since been detained for violating the national security law and the Immigration Act as the investigation continues.

Zhou claimed his boat was a military-standard rubber dinghy bought on Taobao, which is found to cost around 11,000 yuan (US$1,699) on the Chinese e-commerce platform.

But Chan Ming, who runs a fishing company in Hong Kong, considered Zhou a “sailing specialist.”

“He was clearly very determined,” Chan told Apple Daily after looking at photos of Zhou’s equipment. “There were paddles too, meaning he could use them to steer the boat in case anything came up.” His meticulous planning was also shown by the double amount of fuel on board, Chan added.

As Zhou’s trip was obviously well orchestrated, Chan believed he must have thoroughly researched the weather conditions and water flows of the Strait ahead of departure.

His journey over the 100-mile stretch of sea between China and Taiwan has revealed a loophole in Taiwan’s coastal defense and attracted great public attention amid growing cross-strait tensions.

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