VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Coast Guard did NOT arrest Chinese fishermen in Tawi-Tawi this July


A YouTube channel used old photos from previous Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) operations to falsely claim that they recently nabbed a Chinese crew illegally fishing in Tawi-Tawi. 

Posted on July 16, the eight-minute video bore the headline: 

“Good Job! Isang Chinese fishing vessel hinuli umano ng Coast Guard – Ilegal na nangisda sa Tawi-Tawi (A Chinese fishing vessel allegedly arrested by the Coast Guard – illegally fishing in Tawi-Tawi).”

Its thumbnail featured a ship approaching a fishing vessel, with a photo of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. clapping digitally added.

A narrator in the video alleged that the PCG issued a “statement” regarding the “arrest of 10 Chinese crew members” and “confiscation of the vessel” for illegally fishing in Philippine territory. Photos of the supposed arrest were flashed. 

These claims are not true. There are no reports of such an arrest having happened recently or in the past. The video used photos from other PCG operations. 

The photo of a ship facing a listing fishing vessel in the thumbnail was from January when the PCG rescued seven Chinese crew members stranded off the coast of Eastern Samar.

The YouTube channel also misused a photo of twelve Chinese fishermen whose boat ran aground in Tubbataha Reef in 2013. 

A photo of the PCG apprehending Filipino fisherfolk in Cavite on Aug. 23, 2021 was also shown. They were arrested for trawling at waters three nautical miles from the coast of Barangay Bucana in the town of Naic. 

The false YouTube video also reported that the PCG saw eight ships from unknown countries positioned near Pag-Asa Island. This happened in June. However, the photo flashed during the narration was taken in 2009 when Chinese fishing boats gathered near South Korea’s western Yeonpyeong Island (see Slide 5).

The untrue video was published nine days after the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Western Command reported an “alarming” increase of Chinese presence in Recto Bank. 

YouTube channel PH TV’s (created on Nov. 2, 2015) post has 15,402 views as of writing. The link was also shared on Facebook. This is not the first time that VERA Files Fact Check flagged this channel for spreading disinformation. (Read Video FALSELY claims PCG fired water cannon at Chinese vessel in WPS)


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(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)