Taiwanese man left stranded in Spain by his sailor father 38 years ago to finally be reunited with family

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A TAIWANESE man who was abandoned in Spain by his father after a quarrel is to be reunited with his family after 38 years. 

Aged 17 at the time, he was left alone when his sailor father sailed away after leaving him ashore in Spain. 

His father’s later efforts to find him and take him home proved futile after the young man moved away in an apparent bid to make sure he couldn’t be found. 

Having lost all contact with his family it wasn’t until 2016 that a chance encounter with a Taiwanese sailor set in motion the events that would lead to a family reunion. 

The unnamed man’s sister in the Taiwanese town of Taitung received a message telling her that her brother was alive and well living 12,000 kilometres away on the Canary Island of Lanzarote.

Talking to Liberty Times the man’s sister, surname Chen, explained that it was 1981 when the father made his fateful decision – one that he later came to regret. 

He made several return trips to Spain in search of his son, but was unable to track him down. He has since died without ever seeing his son again. 

Then a fire destroyed the family home and with it all documentation related to the son, which his father had retained. Not only that, but the family moved away and their phone number changed making it impossible for the son to contact them. 

Then three years ago the son bumped into a Taiwanese sailor. The son spoke fluent Spanish but rudimentary Mandarin – so they communicated through a translation App. 

He asked the sailor to find his family and tell them he was alive and give them his address. All the sailor had to go on was the former family address and old phone number, but he managed to track down Chen and pass on the message. 

But a reunion could not be arranged straight away as the son had no personal documentation, passport or ID and what had existed was destroyed in the fire. 

The sister went to the immigration office in Taiwan to see if the relevant documents could be obtained to help her brother reunite with his family. 

Immigration officer Peter Chen – thought to not be a relative – who is now representing the Taiwan People’s Party in elections in Taitung, has helped get the documents in order. 

The son – who has his own family in the town of Arrecife where he works as a head chef in a restaurant – is now due to arrive in Taiwan by the end of the year. 



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Written by

Dilip Kuner

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