Taiwanese and Philippine investigators yesterday wrapped up separate probes into the May 9 shooting on a Taiwanese fishing boat by Philippine Coast Guard personnel and each said they would complete their respective investigation reports on the case as soon as possible.
The team of Philippine investigators, led by Daniel Daganzo, chief of the Foreign Liaison Division under the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation, arrived in Taiwan on Monday under a bilateral agreement to offer mutual assistance to the two countries’ cooperative investigations into the shooting.
“We were able to gather the pieces of evidence that we need to complete the investigation, which will be evaluated in Manila,” Daganzo said at a news conference at the Ministry of Justice in Taipei, before his departure yesterday. “We will submit our report and it will be consolidated with the report that we have in Manila. Then we will to conduct an evaluation on this case.”
On Thursday, Philippine forensic experts conducted a ballistic examination in Taipei to cross-match bullets brought by the Philippine team with the bullets found on the Taiwanese boat, the Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28.
The process identified two of the guns used by the Philippine Coast Guard personnel, with one of them the weapon with which 65-year-old crewmember Hung Shih-cheng (洪石成) was shot and killed, Hsieh Chih-ming (謝志明), head prosecutor of the Pingtung District Prosecutors’ Office, said on Thursday.
The office is responsible for carrying out Taiwan’s investigation of the case.
Asked about the results of the ballistic examination and whether the shooter had been identified, Daganzo did not give a definitive answer.
“Although we have the results of the cross-matching, we still have to bring the results of the report to Manila” and compare it with results obtained in Manila to “certainly determine who is the [shooter] and what particular gun was used” in the incident, he said.
On whether the fishing boat was in Philippine territorial waters when the incident occurred and whether it tried to ram the Philippine government vessel, as the Philippine Coast Guard has reportedly claimed, Daganzo said it was too early to answer those questions.
He said the team needed to further evaluate the available evidence before coming to a conclusion.
Hsieh, who also attended the news conference yesterday, said the Philippine investigators exchanged views on the case with their Taiwanese counterparts during their five days in Taiwan, and both sides would stay in touch to establish the truth behind the incident as soon as possible.
After the two sides finish their final reports, they hope to discuss the conclusions with each other and try to reach a consensus on the case, before making public the final results of the investigations, Hsieh said.
Meanwhile, Taiwanese investigators also left Manila for home yesterday after wrapping up their evidence-gathering mission in the Philippines.
Lin Yen-liang (林彥良), chief prosecutor from the Pingtung District Prosecutors’ Office, who led the group, expressed his appreciation to Philippine justice authorities for the assistance provided.
Over the past few days, the Taiwanese investigators have examined the firearms used in the attack and inspected the Philippine vessel involved.
They also obtained a video of the shooting recorded by the vessel and questioned the Philippine patrol personnel involved.