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Filipino indicted in Taiwan for murder aboard fishing boat

2019/07/12 18:12:55

Photo courtesy of Donggang District Fishermen's Association

Taipei, July 12 (CNA) The Pingtung District Prosecutors Office indicted a Philippine national Friday on charges of homicide in a case that occurred aboard a Taiwanese fishing boat in the Indian Ocean in February that saw the death of eight crewmen from Indonesia and the Philippines.

The local prosecutors office suggested a heavy punishment for the defendant, accusing him of taking the men's lives without mercy and of refusing to confess during interrogation to his criminal acts.

According to the prosecutor in charge of the case, the accused Filipino was the chief officer on the Donggang, Pingtung County-registered fishing boat, the Wen Peng, when the vessel was in waters off Mauritius.

Twenty-four people were aboard, including three Taiwanese (the captain, chief engineer and an observer from the Fisheries Agency), 10 Filipinos and 11 Indonesians, according to Fisheries Agency data.

The prosecutor said Friday that their investigation found the suspect quarreled with some of the crew over task allocations aboard the vessel Feb. 20, before he stabbed a compatriot to death.

The assailant then slashed another crew member, also from the Philippines, before pushing him overboard.

Without stopping his rampage, the attacker continued to wound two other fishery workers, prompting eight others to abandon ship. He then allegedly cut off the boat's fishing gear and walked up and down the deck to stop those in the water from climbing back aboard.

Eventually, only two of the eight were rescued by a nearby vessel with the other six remaining missing and later determined to have drowned, the prosecutor said.

A total of eight people died during the bloodbath -- five Indonesians and three Filipinos -- the prosecutor added.

The Taiwanese captain, chief engineer and observer hid in a cabin during the incident, before jumping from the vessel into the sea while the assailant was not paying attention. They were then rescued by nearby ships, along with other crew members who were forced to jump out of the boat by the killer.

On March 2, a Taiwanese Coast Guard Administration patrol boat reached the Wen Peng and successfully took control of the tuna boat. The suspect was then subdued by special service agents from the patrol boat.

The suspect and the Wen Peng were brought back to Kaohsiung March 24 before the Pingtung District Prosecutors Office took over the case.

(By Yang Sz-ruei and Elizabeth Hsu)