American who fled Taiwan ends up in Batanes town
BASCO, Philippines—An American was found nearly unconscious on a small rubber boat at the Chadpiden beach here on Saturday, after he reportedly tried to flee an illegal drug charge in Taiwan, police said on Monday.
Police said Allan David Ferris, 64, claimed that he paddled for 30 hours from Taipei in Taiwan to the Batanes coast.
He told police here that he fled Taipei after police there accused him of possessing illegal drugs, said Senior Supt. Edgardo Pamittan, Batanes police chief.
Ferris remained under police custody while awaiting word from the Bureau of Immigration and the Department of Foreign Affairs about his status, Pamittan said.
“Technically, he arrived here illegally, and he claimed to have a criminal case in another country so we are waiting for instructions as to how to proceed with his case. We were not able to communicate with these agencies over the weekend,” Pamittan said.
Ferris was found nearly unconscious at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday near the Chadpiden beach by a fisherman, who thought the American was dead.
He was taken to a local hospital for a medical examination before he was detained by police. Ferris’ legs were bloated from days in the sea, the doctors said.
Ferris came with a global positioning system (GPS) device and a knapsack filled with clothes and a laptop. He refused to talk about his ordeal.
But Pamittan said they were confirming Ferris’ story that he escaped from Taiwan after his house there was raided by police. Police claimed they found drugs in the house, for which Ferris was charged.
Pamittan said: “He told me he did not trust the Taiwanese police so he left, intending to paddle his way to Manila and the United States Embassy there but he went off course and landed here instead.”
“We have no way of confirming whether his story is true, and whether he really has legal problems in Taiwan. For the moment, we let him stay at the police station where he is fed, although occasionally he asks us to buy pizza,” Pamittan said. Juliet Cataluna, with a report from Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon
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