Taiwan expects similar results from Philippine investigative report

Taipei, June 23 (CNA) Taiwan hopes that the results of the investigation reports by Taiwan and the Philippines on the shooting death of a Taiwanese fisherman by a Philippine government vessel will have no major differences, Foreign Minister David Lin said on Sunday. Taiwan expects the results of two reports, as well as the charges to be filed against those responsible for the death of 65-year-old fisherman Hung Shih-cheng, to be similar, Lin said, more than three weeks after investigators from Taiwan and the Philippines completed visits to each other's country to collect evidence on the May 9 shooting. The ministry said both sides had completed their respective investigation reports on the case. However, the two sides have yet to release their reports. The Taiwanese investigation found that the Philippines Coast Guard personnel who fired the fatal shots at Hung could be charged with "intentional killing," sources close to the Taiwanese probe said earlier this month. Philippine Justice Secretary Leila de Lima also confirmed that criminal and administrative charges have been recommended by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against the Philippine Coast Guard personnel involved in the shooting, but she did not disclose details about the charges. The NBI report has been sent to Philippine President Benigno Aquino III and is awaiting his approval. According to his understanding, Benjamin Ho, director-general of the ministry's Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, the Philippine president has not made a final decision on whether to approve the report. The incident has triggered a diplomatic row and led Taiwan to impose sanctions on the Philippines, including suspending the hiring of Filipinos seeking work in Taiwan and issuing a "red" travel alert for Taiwanese nationals planning to visit the Philippines. On May 9, a Taiwanese fishing boat, Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28, was strafed by a Philippine patrol vessel while operating in the overlapping exclusive economic zones of the two countries. In the wake of the incident, Taiwan demanded that the Philippines issue a formal apology, compensate Hung's family, punish those responsible for his death and begin fishery talks to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. Both sides held a meeting in Manila on June 14, as part of their efforts to work toward signing a fishery agreement to address long-standing fishing disputes. (By Rogge Chen and Elaine Hou)