Taiwanese investigators start probe in Manila
MANILA, Philippines - A team of 7 Taiwanese investigators arrived in Manila on Monday, May 27 to start their probe into the death of a Taiwanese fisherman in Philippine waters.
The team is composed of the following:
1. Lin Yen-liang, investigator-prosecutor
2. Liu Chia-Kai, investigator-prosecutor
3. Tseng Shih-che , investigator-prosecutor
4. Chang Hung-jui, investigator
5. Lee Jia-Jinn , forensics expert
6. Lee Jing-wei , firearm inspector
7. Lin Guh-tyng, technician
"The group [held] a coordination meeting to agree on the steps that we will be undertaking in the next few days," Arthur Abiera, lawyer of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office said.
The first time Taiwanese investigators came here in relation to the fisherman's death was on May 16. But they returned to Taipei empty-handed since both countries at that time could not agree on the parameters of the probe.
The team's arrival coincided with the departure of a team from the National Bureau of Investigation to Taipei. NBI investigators flew to Taiwan also on May 27 to begin the parallel probe into the shooting of Hung Shih-Chen.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) admitted they shot on May 9 a Taiwanese fishing boat, the Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28. An initial inspection showed the boat has 58 bullet holes.
The crew of Maritime Commercial Service 3001, which is owned by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources but manned by the PCG, said it tried to stop the Taiwanese fishing vessel into entering the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.
The vessel, however, allegedly ignored the warning and even threatened to ram the ship.
The Taiwanese team will conduct a ballistics test on Monday. "First thing that we will do is to conduct the ballistics exam then second is to inspect the vessel then [on the] third day we will discuss what happened," NBI deputy director Virgilio Mendez said.
The guns to be examined included 8 M-16 rifles, 6 M-14 rifles and a machine gun.
Mendez said the team will also inspect the PCG vessel and interview its personnel if the lawyers allow it.
He added that the video showing the encounter between the PCG and the Taiwanese crew will be shared with the Taiwanesre investigators.
"No prob. Everything that is with us will also be offered to the Taiwan team," he said.
Lin, meanwhile, said that access to evidence and personnel "will be based on reciprocity."
"What we rendered to the NBI team will be offered to us."
In Taiwan, the NBI team will interview the other crew members of the fishing vessel, gather evidence such as bullet slugs and conduct ballistic tests. The NBI's request to conduct a re-autopsy of Hung's body was denied, however.
President Benigno Aquino III has apologized to Taiwan through Perez, but Taipei rejected it. Taiwan has issued sanctions against Manila including a ban on hiring Filipino workers.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said though that she believes that the "spirit of cooperation and openness between Philippines and Taiwanese authorities can contribute, to a significant degree, to the restoration of normalcy of Philippine-Taiwan relations."- Rappler.com