The government hopes that the results of the investigations conducted by Taiwan and the Philippines into the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman by Philippine Coast Guard personnel will not contain any major differences, Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) said yesterday.
The government expects the results of the two reports, as well as the charges to be filed against those responsible for the death of 65-year-old fisherman Hung Shih-cheng (洪石成), to be similar, Lin said more than three weeks after investigators from Taiwan and the Philippines completed visits to each other’s countries to collect evidence on the May 9 incident.
The ministry said that although both sides have already completed their reports on their respective investigations, their findings have not been released.
The Taiwanese investigation found that the Philippine Coast Guard personnel who fired the shots that killed Hung could be charged with “intentional homicide,” sources close to the Taiwanese probe said earlier this month.
Philippine Department of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima also confirmed that criminal and administrative charges have been recommended by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against the Philippine Coast Guard personnel involved in the shooting, but she did not disclose details about the charges.
The NBI report has been sent to Philippine President Benigno Aquino III and is awaiting his approval.
Benjamin Ho (何登煌), director-general of the ministry’s Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said that according to his understanding, Aquino has not made a final decision on whether to approve the report.
The incident triggered a diplomatic row that led Taiwan to impose a series of sanctions on the Philippines, including suspending the hiring of Filipinos migrant workers in Taiwan and issuing a “red” travel alert for Taiwanese planning to visit the Philippines.
On May 9, Taiwanese fishing boat Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28 was shot at while operating in the overlapping exclusive economic zones of the two countries.
In the wake of the incident, Taiwan demanded that the Philippines issue a formal apology, compensate Hung’s family, punish those responsible for his death and begin fishery talks to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
Both sides held a meeting in Manila on June 14, as part of their efforts to work toward signing a fishery agreement to address long-standing fishing disputes.