Sun, Jun 02, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Philippine crew denies shooting to kill: investigators

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwanese investigators who completed an investigation in Manila into the May 9 shooting of a Taiwanese fishing boat by Philippine Coast Guard personnel said that the coast guards involved have denied they shot with the intention to kill crewmembers onboard the vessel and that the Philippine authority refused to subject them to polygraph tests.

The team of Taiwanese investigators returned from Manila on Friday after wrapping up their evidence-gathering mission in the Philippines over the case in which the Taiwanese boat, Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28, operating in the overlapping exclusive economic zones of Taiwan and the Philippines, on May 9 was fired upon by Philippine Coast Guard personnel.

Fisherman Hung Shih-cheng (洪石成) was shot dead in the incident.

The incident sparked a diplomatic tussle between Taipei and Manila and prompted Taipei to impose several sanctions, including a freeze on the hiring of Filipino workers.

The Ministry of Justice yesterday said the investigation team has been busy studying the case with other investigators in Taiwan since their return from Manila, hoping to close an investigation report as soon as possible.

The investigators said yesterday that the eight Filipinos involved in the case denied they targeted the cabin of the Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28, where the crewmembers were hiding during the incident, and that they only fired several warning shots into the air.

Investigators said Manila refused to subject patrol personnel involved to polygraph tests.

According to the investigators, three key bullet remains left on the boat have been identified: Two were fired from one M14 rifle, one of which hit and killed Hung, and the third bullet was fired from a .30 Rifle, indicating there were at least two Filipinos holding the guns and shooting the cabin.

During their trip in Manila, the Taiwanese investigators 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 through local investigators.

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