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  • Jul 27, 2014
  • Updated: 12:46am
NewsChina
MARITIME INCIDENT

Philippines refuses to apologise as fisherman's body returns to Taiwan

Manila refuses to apologise over fatal shootingof crew member by Philippine coastguard vessel

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 May, 2013, 4:38pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 May, 2013, 6:13am

A fishing trawler that was fired on by the Philippines' coastguard limped back to Taiwan yesterday, riddled with more than 50 bullet holes and carrying the body of a 65-year-old crew member.

However, Manila refused to apologise to Taipei, saying the incident happened when the coast-guard vessel acted in self-defence to avoid being rammed while tackling "illegal fishing".

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday the island would not rule out possible sanctions against Manila.

"We will seek justice for our fisherman. We will not rule out the possibility of taking any kind of sanctions [against the Philippines]," Ma said while inspecting a coastguard drill in central Taiwan. "The Philippines shot an unarmed fishing boat.

"This was a brutal and cold-blooded act," he added.

Ma reiterated Taipei's demand for Manila to apologise, apprehend the killer and offer compensation.

Some Taiwanese lawmakers urged the government to freeze the hiring of Philippine workers in protest at the shooting.

Manila admitted on Friday that its coastguard had fired on a Taiwanese trawler the previous day, but said the action took place inside its own territorial waters and that it had no idea it had killed 65-year-old Hung Shih-cheng, one of four crew members aboard.

Taiwanese investigators counted 52 bullet holes on the boat, while it was confirmed that Hung had died after being shot in the neck. The trawler came under fire from heavy machine guns, Taipei's official Central News Agency reported.

Abigail Valte, a spokeswoman for Philippine President Benigno Aquino, and coastguard chief Rear Admiral Rodolfo Isorena said in Manila that their patrol boat "was forced to fire the shots because the [Taiwanese] fishing vessel attempted to ram them".

However, this was denied by the victim's son and trawler captain, Hung Yu-chih, who said the Philippine vessel opened fire without warning.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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robaston
Why would the Philippines coastguard be patrolling waters outside their exclusive economic zone? Unlike China and Taiwan the Philippines does not make outrageous territorial claims with no basis in international law. If your band around insults you should be careful not to say moronic things yourself.
chaz_hen
HK government can teach a few things to Taiwan...firstly, put the Philippines on the black "no travel" list forever because of this incident...Then start hiring cheaper Indos and Banglos for your low cost domestic labor...
2crazy4words
Have the Philippine Coastguard never heard of warning shots across the bow or were all 52 of them warning shots?
The "ramming scenario" is as believable as the Easter Bunny but even it were the case, how did they think small arms fire would stop the Taiwanese boat?
Yet another example of the Philippines armed forces "fire first - think later" attitude. Have they learnt nothing after the Manila bloodbath?
martinphipps3
I am a Canadian resident of both countries. (I work in Taiwan and have an apartment here but I also have a condo in Manila near my son's high school.) I think the Philippine diplomats are being a bit obstinate. They should say something like "We apologize on behalf of the people responsible." I think that the Philippine Coast Guard has the right to fire on ships passing within a certain distance off the Philippine coast. However, there's the question of how far they were from the Taiwan coast. I had read in the newspaper that it was the Taiwan Coast Guard who escorted the fishing boat back to Taiwan and, if so, then there may be an overlap between the area the Philippine Coast Guard patrols and the Taiwan Coast Guard patrols. Could the Philippine Coast Guard crew have been confused about their location? Perhaps they should have waited until they were 20 kilometers off the Philippine coast as a fishing boat 80 kilometers out does not really present a clear and present danger to the Philippines and firing on a boat for "illegal fishing" seems a bit of an overreaction. I'm also not sure it was illegal as the southern tip of Taiwan to the Philippine Island of Batanes is only 218 kilometers. I think that means that the Taiwanese can legally sail right up to the Philippine coast and fish legally. I think the Philippines does owe Taiwan an apology. Perhaps the Philippine Coast Guard mistakenly thought it was a boat from Mainland China and that they had no business there.
donniemcm
Story summary :
- A country is perpetually looking to conquer new water territories.
- A country is perpetually not feeling sorry for its lame armed force.
achiang
What does that have to do with Taiwan? You're not a sharp tool are you?
martinphipps3
You are confusing Taiwan with mainland China.
robaston
Taiwan's claim is even bigger than China's. They also claim the entire country of Mongolia as their territory, they are not good at admitting their errors.
martinphipps3
This was not their error, however.
reymond.vanta
its a bad day for both countries..who wants this kind of scene.? the taiwan vessel shouldn`t crossed the border of other countries:(

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