Sat, May 11, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Government slams Manila over death

TRIGGER HAPPY?Taiwan’s representative to the Philippines said a Taiwanese fishing boat was riddled with 32 bullets, making claims they were warning shots not credible

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

The Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28 was fishing in waters in which the exclusive economic zones claimed by Taiwan and the Philippines overlap, Lin said.

“Under no circumstances should Philippine government vessels use force against unarmed fishing boats from Taiwan or from any other country,” Lin said.

Furthermore, the actions of the Philippine vessel left the Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28 disabled and without power, which “was a violation of the duty to rescue at sea enshrined in international laws,” Lin said.

It was not the first time the Philippines has shot dead Taiwanese fishermen in the disputed waters.

In 2006, the Man Chun Yi, a Taiwanese fishing boat registered in Taitung County, was shot at by two Philippine marine police officers, causing one death and one injury.

The two Philippine police officers responsible for the shooting were charged by Taitung prosecutors, but they never came to Taiwan to appear in court and the case remains unresolved.

Family members of those shot in the 2006 incident said they did not receive any compensation from the Philippines, “not even an apology.”

Lin pledged yesterday that the government would work to discover the truth behind Thursday’s incident and “will continue with its three demands until they are fulfilled.”

The Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28 was scheduled to be towed back to Pingtung early today.

Upon arrival, prosecutors will investigate the shooting and the government would then produce an report, Lin said.

After both sides present their respective reports on the incident, both countries would launch a joint investigation if there are still differences of opinion over the circumstances in which the shooting took place, Lin said.

Meanwhile, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) condemned the Philippines for using force against the fishing boat and demanded that Manila investigate the incident and provide compensation to the victims.

“It is an extremely uncivilized act for the Philippine ship to fire 34 shots at an unarmed fishing boat ... We demand that the Philippines uncover the truth behind the incident, and we will not stop our pursuit until the issue is resolved,” he said during a visit to Greater Kaohsiung.

In addition to demanding an apology, the president said the government also asked the Philippine government to punish the officials involved in the attack, pay due compensation and ensure that no similar incident happens again.

Ma said no country should use force against an unarmed fishing boat, adding that the government would not dispatch naval ships to protect Taiwanese fishing ships, as the protection of the fishermen is the responsibility of the CGA.

“A country has the authority to enforce laws in its exclusive economic zone, but it can only send officials to board a fishing ship for inspection. No countries should use force against civilian boats,” he said.

Antonio Basilio, the Philippine Representative to Taiwan, was summoned by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Shih (石定) over the matter.

In a statement read to reporters, Basilio said the Philippine authorities are investigating the incident and the circumstances that led to such tragic outcome and will issue a report shortly.

“Regardless of the circumstances that led to the shooting, no words can express our sorrow at the loss of a precious life. We would like to express our sincerest condolences and apologies to the family of Mr Hung for their loss,” Basilio said.

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