A crewmember of a Taiwanese fishing boat yesterday told authorities of a harrowing ordeal in which his boat was attacked in the Philippine Sea by pirates possibly disguised as military personnel, resulting in the shooting death of his brother.
The crewman, who himself was shot in the leg during the attack, said he saw people in military uniforms shooting at him before boarding the boat.
But Philippine authorities said no naval or coast guard personnel were involved, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"Philippine authorities have told the ministry that no naval and coast guard vessels were in those waters when the incident occurred," ministry spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍) said yesterday.
"We do not know whether these were pirates disguised as military personnel in order to commit the crime. We need more time to clear up the matter," Lu added.
The Taitung District Prosecutors' Office yesterday also launched an investigation into the incident.
The fishing vessel Man Chun Yi was attacked in the Philippines Sea on Sunday morning.
The 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.
Two Chinese nationals working on the boat were uninjured.
Chen Ming-te yesterday told police that the fishing boat was shot at by five people in military-style uniforms, but the boat they used did not look like a military vessel.
"They fired dozens of shots, and then raided the boat," he said.
The attackers fled with the boat's catch of fish.
After receiving reports from another Taiwanese fishing boat near the site of the incident, four Coast Guard Administration patrol boats and a helicopter came to assist the Man Chun Yi.
The coast guard said its personnel were unable to lift Chen Ming-te to the helicopter because of the seriousness of his injury, instead moving him to a coast guard vessel and taking him to Orchid Island, situated off the nation's southeastern coast.
A helicopter waiting on the island then airlifted Chen Ming-te to a Kaohsiung hospital early yesterday morning, the coast guard said.
Doctors said Chen Ming-te's condition had stabilized.
Chen An-lao's body was taken to Taitung pending the prosecutors' probe.
The Man Chun Yi, based in Taitung County, was attacked as it traveled between the Philippines' Batan Islands and Babuyan Islands in the Bashi Channel.
Local fishermen's associations yesterday called for the government to increase protective measures for the nation's fishing boats from pirate attacks.