Watching video, Taiwan probers weep
MANILA, Philippines—Taiwanese investigators in Manila reportedly became emotional while watching a video of the encounter between the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and a Taiwanese fishing vessel in the waters off the northern Philippines that resulted in the shooting death of a Taiwanese fisherman.
“Some of them cried and others uttered ‘it’s excessive,’” said the source who asked not to be named for lack of authority to speak on the parallel probe of the May 9 incident by Taiwanese and Philippine investigators working in both Taipei and Manila.
The source said several PCG personnel were shown in the video shooting at the Taiwanese vessel, the Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28. Fisherman Hung Shih-cheng, 65, was killed.
The source described the video as close to two hours and showing the earlier activities of the boat, the MCS-3001, jointly manned by the PCG and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
The footage, taken by one of the PCG personnel, showed that the Taiwanese fishing boat “sped toward the MCS-3001 and the two boats almost collided,” the source said.
While a Taiwanese source earlier said that at least 40 bullet holes were found on the Taiwanese vessel, a National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) ballistics team was still checking the bullet trajectories as of Thursday evening.
Earlier, the Taiwanese investigators in Manila fired the high-powered firearms that the PCG had submitted to the NBI, to gather the slugs and compare them with the recovered slugs from the fishing boat.
As of press time on Thursday, the Taiwanese team was still talking to eight PCG personnel.
BFAR staff and nine other PCG personnel were questioned on Wednesday.
Damage to bow seen
In Taipei, Philippine investigators examined on Wednesday the Taiwanese fishing boat involved in the fatal shooting, collecting samples from the bow of the vessel after discovering minor damage there, the China Post reported Thursday.
Hsieh Chih-ming, head prosecutor of Pingtung District, told a press conference the Filipino investigators examined the Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28 in a shipyard in southern Pingtung County’s Donggang township.
Accompanied by prosecutors and forensic staff, the Philippine team began its examination at 9 a.m. and took samples from the bow of the boat where they discovered a scratch, Hsieh said.
The crew of the boat, including skipper Hung Yu-chih, was also asked to board the vessel and take the Filipino investigators through the shooting.
The pieces of evidence collected could be important as the Philippines claims that the Taiwanese boat tried to ram its patrol boat, forcing PCG personnel to fire in self-defense.
“We will submit this evidence to Manila and we will make our evaluation of all this evidence together with the evidence that we have in Manila,” said Daniel Daganzo, chief of the NBI’s foreign liaison division and leader of the eight-member investigating team.
Meanwhile, NBI Director Nonnatus Rojas on Thursday said he had yet to see the complaint filed by the slain fisherman’s daughter so he could not say who had jurisdiction over it.
“We have yet to confirm that from our investigators and see the document, although as a matter of policy, no one is precluded from filing any complaint before the NBI. [But] we will handle it as part of our mandate to exhaustively investigate the incident,” said Rojas.—With a report from China Post/ANN
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