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Philippines to convey apology to Taiwan

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-05-15 17:25

MANILA - Philippine President Benigno Aquino has appointed Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) Chairman Amadeo Perez as his personal representative to convey his apology to the family of the Taiwan fisherman who was killed by the Philippine Coast Guard, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Wednesday.

"The President has appointed MECO Chairman Amadeo Perez as his personal representative who will convey his and the Filipino people's deep regret and apology to the family of Mr. Hung Shi- cheng as well as to the people of Taiwan over the unfortunate and unintended loss of life," Lacierda said in a just-announced statement.

"Upon orders from the President, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has already started the investigation and is committed to a thorough, exhaustive, impartial and expeditious investigation of the incident. The NBI has given this case the highest priority," he said.

"We understand the grief and hurt of the family and of the people of Taiwan over this unfortunate loss and we empathize with them," he added.

The shooting incident happened on May 9 at a sea area 164 nautical miles southeast of the southernmost tip of Taiwan, when Philippine Coast Guard shot dead the 65 year-old Taiwan fisherman.

Moreover, the Philippine ship chased the fishing vessel for about one hour, even when the attacked fishing vessel was fleeing at full speed.  

The Philippine Coast Guard has admitted firing at one of four Taiwan's fishing vessels. Taiwan prosecutor Liu Chia-kai described the incident as "nothing but a slaughter," after examining the boat which he said was hit by 52 bullets.

Following the incident, Taiwan demanded a formal apology, an investigation into the fisherman's death, punishment for those found responsible and compensation for the death and the damage done to the fishing boat.

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