Talk of the Day -- Ultimatum to Philippines

The front page of the local newspapers on Sunday continued to be dominated by a shooting incident at sea in which a Taiwanese fisherman was killed by Philippine law enforcement personnel on May 9. On a directive from President Ma Ying-jeou, the Taiwan government on Saturday called on the Philippine government to issue an official apology, compensate the victim's family for their loss, conduct an investigation as soon as possible and bring those responsible to justice, and begin talks on the signing of a bilateral fishery agreement at the earliest date possible. Unless those demands are met by midnight Tuesday, the Taiwan government said it will stop accepting applications for the employment of Philippine workers, recall Taiwan's representative to Manila and ask the Philippines' representative to Taipei to return to his home country to help handle the case. Ma gave the directive at a meeting of the National Security Council late Saturday. The following are excerpts from local papers' reports of the Philippine coast guard's attack on a Taiwanese fishing boat, the Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28, which resulted in the death of a 65-year-old fisherman, Hung Shih-cheng: China Times: Hung Yu-chih, son of the shooting victim and skipper of the 15-ton Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28, was furious at the suggestion that the Philippines patrol vessel had opened fire because the fishing boat tried to ram it. "How could we ram anyone with such a small boat?" Hung asked rhetorically. His father died of a single shot to the back of the neck while cowering in the cabin with the other three crew members. A veteran fisherman offered a possible reason why the incident had occurred. Chen Chia-shun, a skipper with decades of experience operating in waters between Taiwan and the Philippines, said that, when intercepted by Philippine vessels, the best policy is to stay put, as speeding away will only draw fire. Chen said that Taiwan fishermen always need to be prepared for the possibility of their boats and their catch being confiscated by Philippine officials. An opinion poll conducted by the China Times showed that 92 percent of the Taiwan public thinks the Philippines should apologize, punish those responsible for Hung's death and offer compensation to his family. Sixty-eight percent said the Taiwan government has not responded to the incident forcefully enough. United Daily News: Accompanied by a coroner, a public prosecutor inspected the Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28 early Saturday, immediately after it was towed into its home port in Siaoliouchiou Island off Pingtung County in southern Taiwan. Prosecutor Liu Chia-kai said afterward that Hung had been shot by by a high-velocity bullet and had hemorrhaged to death within 30 minutes. The bullet penetrated the fiber glass hull of the boat and struck Hung, the prosecutor said. The fishing boat skipper said he was at the wheel around 9 a.m. on May 9 when he saw a large vessel approaching. When the two boats were about 30-40 meters apart, he heard gunshots, he said. He set the fishing boat on auto-pilot and sought cover in the cabin with the other three crew members, he said. He said the hail of bullets was like rain hitting his boat. Hung said he heard a yell from his father and found him in a pool of blood. (May 12, 2013) (By Jay Chen)