–UPDATED: August 15th, 7:33 PM At least five activists arrested by police at the scene–
The boat from Hong Kong carrying 14 activists looking to reach the disputed Senkaku Islands to reaffirm Chinese ownership entered Japan’s territorial waters today. Despite warnings from Japan, the group, calling themselves the Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands, set sail on Sunday, looking to protest Japanese control of the territory. While encountering six ships from the Japan Coast Guard, seven members of the group were able to reach the outlying rocks of the Senkaku and plant a Chinese flag around 5:30 PM local time.
Among the group on the Chinese shipping boat included Chan Miu-tak, the leader of the activist committee, as well as the crew and several journalists. The group was approached and followed by the Japan Coast Guard vessels in the mid-afternoon, they then issued warnings to stop and go back, as well as used water cannons to forcibly try to deter them. After continuing to enter Japanese waters, a coast guard vessel hit the fishing boat, known as the Kai Fung 2, slightly damaging the front end, but causing no injuries to those on board.
Initial reports stated that when the Hong Kong activist group reached the outlying rocks of the Senkakus, there was a group of roughly 40 Japan Coast Guard personnel waiting. Japanese official have only confirmed that they have the boat at the scene, but decline to state how many ships have been involved. Prior to the Diaoyu committee’s arrival, the Chinese foreign ministry issued a formal request not to endanger the lives of its citizens. Sources in Hong Kong have reported that was no aggressive bodily contact upon arrival, and everyone remains safe.
UPDATE: Five of the activists who landed on the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands were arrested by Okinawa prefectural police for their violation of immigration laws. The other two who helped plant the flags of China and Hong Kong returned to the fishing boat. However it has been reported that other activists are still being detained by the Japan Coast Guard for questioning.
[via The Standard]
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