Taiwan Mourns Death of Fisherman In Dispute At Sea With Philippines

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.


Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih-cheng, 65, was killed at sea aboard the vessel “Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28″ seen here —  by Philippine coast guard sailors  in disputed waters, Thursday, May 9, 2013.  (Liuqiu Fishermen’s Assn. / EPA / May 10, 2013)

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 for the Global Times (China)

Philippine Coast Guard admits killing of Taiwan fisherman

Philippine navy denies killing of Taiwan fisherman

China condemns fatal shooting of Taiwanese fisherman


President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九)

Taiwanese officials say that the coastguard chased the boat for some time and did not offer help to the distressed vessel after it was damaged by the shooting.

It argues that opening fire on an unarmed fishing boat violated international law.

Tens of thousands of Filipino migrant labourers work in Taiwan’s manufacturing sectors and homes.



Antonio Basilio, Manila's envoy to Taiwan. (Photo/CNA)

Antonio Basilio, Manila’s envoy to Taiwan. (Photo/CNA)

“Words cannot express our sorrow for the loss of life of Mr. Hung,” he said.

1 Time: 10 am, May 9, 2013
Location: 170 nautical miles off Taiwan’s eastern coast
Incident: a Filipino military ship opened fire on Taiwan’s fishing boat Kuang Ta Hsing 28
Casualties: 65-year-old Taiwan fisherman, Hong Shi Cheng, was killed after being shot
May 9 Taiwan fisherman shot dead             A Taiwanese fisherman, Hung Shih-cheng, 65, was shot dead in the morning by a Filipino military ship.
China condemns fatal shooting of Taiwanese fisherman             China strongly condemned the reported fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.
Taiwan demands Philippine probe into death of fisherman             Taiwan leader, Ma Ying-jeou, has demanded that the Philippine government fully investigate the killing of a Taiwan fisherman as quickly as possible.
Philippine navy denies killing of Taiwan fisherman             The Philippine Navy denied reports of killing a Taiwanese fisherman by Philippine personnel. 
May 10 Taiwan demands apology from Philippines for fisherman’s death             aiwan’s leader Ma Ying-jeou demanded an apology and compensation from the Philippines after a Taiwanese fisherman was shot and killed by the Philippine Coast Guard.
Philippines admits to killing Taiwan fisherman, assures investigation             The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) admitted to killing a Taiwanese fisherman off northern Philippine sea on Thursday at a press conference here. 
May 11 Body of fisherman back to Taiwan             The body of a Taiwanese fisherman, killed in a shooting incident by Philippine coast guard on the sea, was taken back to Taiwan early Saturday morning.
Taipei suspends city exchanges with Philippines after shooting             Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin announced on Saturday the suspension of inter-city exchanges with the Philippines after a Taiwanese fisherman was shot dead by Philippine coast guards at sea.
Filipino official websites attacked             Philippine government said on Saturday that about 10 official websites of government departments were attacked by hackers. Local media reported that the attacks were from Taiwan. 
May 12 Taiwan asks Philippine response to fisherman killing in 72 hours             Taiwan’s leader Ma Ying-jeou vowed to give the Philippines 72 hours to respond to demands regarding the shooting death of a Taiwanese fisherman at sea, or Taiwan will take actions to retaliate.
Philippine envoy apologizes to victim’s family             A Philippine envoy has visited the family of the Taiwan fisherman and apologized to them.
Philippine gov’t sends condolences to family of Taiwanese fisherman             Philippine Deputy Presidential Spokeswoman Abigail Valte on Sunday extended sincere sympathies and condolences to the family of the fisherman from China’s Taiwan region who was killed by men from the Philippine Coast Guard Thursday.
But, she failed to make an apology as requested by officials and people from Taiwan.

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