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China Daily Website

Body of fisherman back to Taiwan

Updated: 2013-05-11 11:19
( Xinhua)

PINGTUNG, 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.

The body was taken home with the fishing vessel "Guang Ta Hsin 28," which was fired upon by Philippine coast guard on Thursday morning in a sea area 160 nautical miles southeast of the southernmost tip of the island of Taiwan.

The 65-year-old victim, Hung Shih-Cheng, was one of four crew members onboard. The rest of the crew survived the shooting uninjured.

The vessel was towed back to a fishing port of Pingtung County at around 3:15 am Saturday, as the shooting damaged its oil tank.

Hung's family had been waiting at the harbor of Little Liuqiu, a coral isle accessible from the Pingtung coast by ferry.

When his body was moved from the cabin onto the deck, several burst into tears and Hung's wife nearly collapsed that they had to take her away from the deck.

Hung, a skilled fisherman, had already decided to retire and in order to pass on his son a good ship he had spent about 8 million New Taiwan dollars ($270,000) in buying this new one, said a neighbor surnamed Chen who was helping Hung's family at their house.

"This was the new ship's second sail. What a pity," said the lady who refused to give her full name.

At least ten bullet holes were seen all over the vessel body and one bullet penetrated the victim's neck, which could be the cause of his death, said local investigators who were on board shortly after the vessel arrived.

Philippine coast guard Friday admitted killing the Taiwanese fisherman but said its personnel opened fire on the fishing boat in self-defense.

"It is impossible that our ship would attempt to challenge the Philippine coast guard vessel. Just look at the size of our ship," said angry Hung Feng-huei, the victim's niece.

Local fishermen said they had long suffered harassment from the Philippine duty vessels. According to Hung's neighbors, local fishing ships are occasionally detained by the Philippines and a large number of ransom is demanded.

Hung's family also complained about slow rescue of Taiwan coast guard.

When Hung's son, also on board, called for help, Hung had been seriously injured but still alive. The Taiwan coast guard failed to send a helicopter to take him to hospital, said Huang Shen-jia, Hung's grandson.

Hung died when a rescue vessel reached the fishing ship about two hours later, he said.

The body of the victim will be sent to Kaohsiung for forensic autopsy, local investigators said.

Taiwan's leader Ma Ying-jeou on Friday condemned the Philippines over the shooting and demanded an apology from the Philippine government for the shooting, the arrest of the shooter and compensation for the victim's family.

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