8 bodies washed up on Taiwan’s southwest coast in recent weeks suspected linked to people smuggling

A total of seven decomposing corpses found washed up on Taiwan’s southwest coast, and a partially mummified corpse found on an offshore wind tower base have all been identified as Vietnamese, and are suspected to be linked to a people smuggling operation.

A partially mummified corpse was found by a contractor on a wind tower platform around 10 kilometers offshore from the Port of Taichung on March 7. Because the platform was more than 10 meters above the sea surface, it is believed that the man had climbed up, and possibly starved to death or died of dehydration and exposure.

In the ensuing couple of weeks, a total of 7 decomposing corpses were found on the coast in Changhua, Yunlin, Chiayi, Tainan, and Kaohsiung. At first, each incident was treated as an individual case, until a pattern emerged. The state of decomposition, and the fact that each corpse was identified as being of Vietnamese ethnicity suggests that the bodies were related to a single incident.

A coast guard investigation of radar records showed no suspicious vessels operating within 12 nautical miles of the coast in the previous month. It is suspected that an accident occurred in the open sea close to the center of the Taiwan Strait, and possibly related to a people smuggling operation.

According to reports, autopsy results suggest the people were alive when they entered the water.

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