Wed, Jan 18, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Philippine police attacked fishermen

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday confirmed that Philippine authorities said police had fired on a Taiwanese vessel allegedly fishing within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.

Ministry Spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍) yesterday quoted Taiwan's representative in the Philippines, Wu Hsin-hsing (吳新興), as saying that Batan Islands police admitted that two Philippine police officers and four fishermen had opened fire on the Taiwanese fishing vessel Man Chun Yi on Sunday morning.

"Batan police received information about a foreign boat illegally fishing in Philippine waters on Sunday and immediately sent two maritime police, along with four fishermen, to expel the Taiwanese fishing vessel," Lu said.

"During the chase, because the Taiwanese fishing vessel, which was bigger than its Philippine counterpart, had once hit the Philippine boat, the Philippine police then opened fire on the Taiwanese vessel," Lu said.

The Taiwanese vessel's 68-year-old captain, Chen An-lao (陳安老), was shot dead and his 62-year-old brother, crewman Chen Ming-te (陳明德), was badly wounded.

The ministry's comments yesterday contradicted a statement it made on Monday that Philippine authorities were not involved.

Lu said the ministry had lodged a protest with the Philippines yesterday about the use of force by police as they executed hot pursuit -- the right a country has to expel and pursue alien boats trespassing in its territorial waters.

Lu said the right of hot pursuit doesn't allow the Philippine authorities to use force.

An official from the Philippines' representative office in Taipei, Resurrecion Montana-Fernando, met ministry officials yesterday.

"If any of our officials were involved, we'll definitely prosecute the officials and bring them to justice," Montana-Fernando said.

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