Taiwan fisherman shot dead

By Yang Jingjie and Wu Wei Source:Global Times Published: 2013-5-10 1:08:01

China's foreign ministry Thursday strongly condemned the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman by the Filipino military earlier in the day, demanding a swift investigation by the Philippines.

Hua Chunying, the foreign ministry's spokeswoman, expressed grave concern over the incident in a statement posted on the ministry's website late Thursday, describing the shooting as "barbaric."

"We are in deep mourning over our Taiwanese compatriot's death and express our condolences to his family," Hua said.

The spokesperson of the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office on Thursday also issued a similar statement.

According to the island's fishing authority and Taiwanese media reports, a Taiwanese fisherman, Hung Shih-cheng, 65, was shot dead on Thursday morning when a Filipino military ship opened fire on fishing boat Kuang Ta Hsing 28 in a sea area around 180 nautical miles southeast of Taiwan's southernmost tip.

Tsai Pao-hsing, head of a local fishery organization, which the fishing boat was registered with, told the Global Times that the incident happened at 9 am Thursday.

He said that four people were aboard the small fishing boat, which had a capacity of just 15 tons. The authorities in Taiwan have sent a ship to escort the fishing boat back to port, and they are expected to return to Taiwan on Friday.

Hung's niece claimed that the boat hadn't crossed the border when the shooting took place.

Lin Han-chou, who is with another fishery organization in Taiwan, told the Global Times that Hung's told him that the Filipino vessel shot the fishing boat, which led to heavy damage.

Tsai said Taiwan and the Philippines have overlapping territorial claims over the area where the incident happened, however, there used to be an unspoken understanding between the two sides that fishermen could go to that area to fish. "Taiwan warships can escort fishing boats to that area, and Filipino military vessels shouldn't disrupt them."

Tsai said there were always conflicts between the two sides, and it wasn't rare for Taiwanese fishermen to be shot dead by the Filipino military.

One Taiwan analyst said that despite Taiwan's strong navy, its status prevents it from direct contact with foreign governments to enforce fishermen's rights and, hindering it from protecting its fishing fleets from attack.

A spokesperson of the Filipino foreign ministry told the Global Times that he couldn't verify the incident.

Hu Qingyun contributed to this story


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