Taiwan checks video, ship in Philippine row
May 28 2013 09:25 PM

Members of the Taiwanese investigation team inspect the MCS 3001, the ship involved in the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman earlier this month, at the South Harbour in Manila yesterday.

AFP/Manila

The Philippines yesterday allowed Taiwan government experts to see video footage of the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman by a Filipino coastguard vessel, officials said.

The viewing of the video was a key demand by Taiwan to settle the controversy that has severely strained ties between the two parties.

The Taiwanese were also allowed to examine the Filipino coastguard vessel and will be given access to the guns used, said Alex Lactao, chief information officer of the Philippine justice department.

“They have seen the video. They also gained access to the vessel,” he said.

The team are looking into how the 65-year-old Taiwanese was shot dead on May 9, in an incident which has sparked anger in Taiwan and prompted economic sanctions by the island’s government.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) showed the Taiwanese a two-hour video of the incident taken by the crew of the Filipino patrol boat, Lactao said. He did not describe its contents.

The NBI is the Philippine justice department unit that investigated the shooting. It has yet to release its findings.

Lactao said a counterpart Philippine team now in Taiwan expects to be allowed to interview the fishing boat’s other crew members as well as to inspect the fishing vessel.

David Chua, political officer of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office that serves as Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Manila, confirmed the team are now at work.

“Right now our investigators are at the NBI to do their work,” Chua said, declining to provide details.

The office, in statements late Tuesday, echoed earlier demands that Philippine President Benigno Aquino formally apologise to Taiwan.

The Philippines has insisted the fishing boat intruded into its waters and that coastguards were forced to open fire when it tried to ram their vessel.

Taipei has rejected this account, insisting the fishing boat was within Taiwan’s exclusive economic zone.

Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou has termed the killing “cold-blooded murder”. He has banned the hiring of new Filipino workers, recalled its envoy and ordered a naval drill in waters off the northern Philippines.

Aquino has already apologised for the shooting but Taiwan has rejected it as inadequate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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