Prosecutors in the Philippines should prosecute the Philippine Coast Guard personnel involved in the death of a Taiwanese fisherman as soon as possible, Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) said on Wednesday.
Completing the prosecution of the eight coast guard officers “is a top-priority issue,” Lin said, adding that Taiwan currently has no plans to seek their extradition to Taiwan.
Lin’s remarks came in response to questions about whether Taiwan will ask the Philippines to extradite the coast guard personnel to Taiwan, following reports earlier in the day that the Pingtung District Court had issued a wanted list that contained the names of the eight coast guard officers late last month.
Hung Shih-cheng (洪石成), a fisherman aboard the Taiwanese boat Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28, was killed in May last year when his boat came under fire from a Philippine Coast Guard ship in an area where the two countries’ exclusive economic zones overlap.
The incident sparked anger across Taiwan, prompting the government to impose retaliatory measures, including a freeze on the hiring of Filipino workers in Taiwan, a travel alert discouraging Taiwanese from visiting the Philippines and suspending most exchange activities.
In August, the Philippines released the result of its National Bureau of Investigation’s inquiry into the incident, which recommended that homicide charges be brought against the eight men involved in the shooting and sanctions imposed against four others suspected of trying to tamper with evidence.
Taiwan subsequently lifted its sanctions against the Philippines and said in a statement that relations between the two countries had been normalized.
Following Hung’s death, the Pingtung District Prosecutors’ Office also launched an investigation into the incident and filed homicide charges against the perpetrators.