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Philippines investigating shooting of Taiwanese fishing boat

2013/05/10 20:46:15

A Philippine official Friday briefs reporters in Manila about the shooting.

Taipei, May 10 (CNA) The authorities in the Philippines are investigating the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman by a Philippine government vessel, the Philippines' representative office in Taiwan said Friday.

"Our authorities are investigating the incident and circumstances that led to such a tragic outcome and will issue a report shortly," the Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei said in a statement.

"Regardless of the circumstances that led to the shooting, no words can express our sorrow at the loss of a precious life," said the office, which represents the Philippines' interests in Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties.

It also expressed condolences and apologies to the family of the victim, Hung Shih-cheng, for their loss.

Hung was killed Thursday during an incident involving the Taiwanese fishing boat Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28 and a vessel belonging to a joint patrol of the Philippine Coast Guard and Bureau of Fisheries, in which the Taiwanese vessel was fired upon.

The Philippines also welcomes the Taiwanese authorities to conduct a joint investigation to determine the location and circumstances leading to the shooting, and hopes bilateral ties will not be hurt by the incident, the office said.

"Should the investigation show that there has been wrongdoing on the part of any individual involved, they will be punished to the full extent of the law," the statement read.

Rodolfo D. Isorena, head of the Philippines' Coast Guard, has delivered a letter to Taiwan's representative to the Philippines Raymond Wang to express sympathy for Hung's family, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Wang was told by the Philippines government that officers from the Coast Guard and the fishery bureau aboard the patrol vessel have been suspended pending an investigation, the ministry said.

The shooting took place a day earlier in the two countries' overlapping waters between Taiwan and the northern Philippines, some 170 nautical miles off Taiwan's southern coast, the ministry said.

Hung's son, son-in-law and an Indonesian crewman were also on board when the shots were fired, according to the fishermen's association in Pintung.

The boat, which suffered engine failure in the incident, was being towed back to Taiwan with the help of two other fishing boats and under escort from a Taiwan Coast Guard Administration (CGA) vessel, the ministry said, adding that it was expected to return to its home port in Pingtung by noon the following day.

Related agencies such as the CGA and the Fisheries Agency will together launch a report with more details of the incident after the boat returns, said ministry spokeswoman Anna Kao.

(By Elaine Hou)