Injured officer 'shot fisherman'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 October, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 October, 1997, 12:00am

Hopes that the mainland would approve the early return of an injured Taiwanese marine policeman were dashed yesterday when Beijing accused the officer of shooting a Chinese fisherman.

The semi-official Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait yesterday sent a letter to its Taiwanese counterpart, the Straits Exchange Foundation, accusing Taiwan marine police of 'intercepting, beating up mainland fishermen and even shooting them'.

'Such actions will aggravate conflicts and the consequence will be dire,' the letter, released by the China News Service last night, said.

It said the injured policeman, Chuang Chen-yao, shot mainland fisherman Xu Mingdi during a scuffle on board Mr Xu's fishing boat last Saturday near Matsu Island off the Fujian coast.

The letter raised fears the officer might face criminal charges on the mainland.

'We will inform you about how we will handle this case,' the letter said.

Taipei earlier said the officer was abducted to Fujian after he was attacked by fishermen he and his colleagues suspected were engaged in a smuggling operation.

But the association's letter said the boat was returning to port after a normal fishing trip.

It said the fishermen refused to follow the police order to dock at Matsu because they feared they would be robbed.

The letter claimed it was common knowledge among Fujian fishermen that Taiwanese policemen often confiscated their fishing boats and physically abused and robbed them if they were caught during fishing trips.