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Indonesia presses China for witness in deaths of fishing boat crews by Basten Gokkon July 21,2020   |  Source: Mongabay

Indonesian authorities say they’re still waiting for China’s response to a request to turn over a witness in an investigation into alleged human trafficking that led to the deaths of four workers on board Chinese-flagged fishing vessels.

The foreign ministry said on July 18 it had submitted the request to the Chinese Embassy in Jakarta more than a week earlier, and that it would press on for a response.

The Chinese witness is being sought for questioning in the case of four Indonesian worker placement agencies that recruited Indonesian nationals to work on board the Long Xing 629, a Chinese tuna fishing vessel suspected of using forced labor to engage in illegal fishing, including shark finning. Fisheries experts say slavery at sea and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing are closely intertwined.

A report by the Environmental Justice Foundation found that one Indonesian crew member of the Long Xing 629 fell sick and died in December 2019, while another died after being transferred to the sister ship Long Xing 802. The bodies of both men were dumped at sea.

On March 27 this year, all of the Indonesian crews from the two vessels were transferred to the Tian Yu 8 and Long Xing 605, both also part of the same fleet, which then sailed to South Korea. One


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