3:25 am | Thursday, May 30th, 2013
TAIPEI—The daughter of the Taiwanese fisherman allegedly killed by Filipino coast guards filed murder charges during joint proceedings held by Taiwanese and Philippine prosecutors in Pingtung County on Tuesday.
“Hung Tzu-chen, who acts as the spokesperson of the family, filed a murder case in the (National Bureau of Investigation) in accordance with Philippine laws (requiring that) a complaint must be filed before an official investigation is conducted,” said Chih Ming-hsieh, one of two head prosecutors of Pingtung County who is assisting the NBI in its own probe into the May 9 shooting death of 65-year-old fisherman Hung Shih-chen.
Chih said no particular person was named in the complaint.
“In Taiwan, if you file a complaint, it’s not necessary to identify somebody who did the crime. You just have to indicate that somebody was responsible for the crime,” Chih said.
Chih did not disclose the details of Hung Tzu-chen’s complaint.
Hung was present during the proceedings. She was accompanied by her lawyer.
The NBI team headed by the bureau’s foreign liaison chief, Daniel Daganzo, interviewed the crew of Hung’s boat, the Guan Ta Hsin 28, during the proceedings.
Chih said the questioning of the crew lasted 10 hours.
First to be questioned was the boat’s captain, Hung Yueh-chen, 39, son of the slain fisherman.
The last to be interviewed was the Indonesian crew member, Buchaeri, 35, an imam (Muslim religious teacher) who, according to a Filipino dockworker in Pingtung who knew him, said the boat was in Philippine waters when the shooting happened.
Buchaeri, according to Filipino dockworker John Albert Fernando, said Hung was in the cabin when the Filipino coast guards fired on their boat, but the boat owner had looked out and was hit in the neck.
During Tuesday’s proceedings, Buchaeri said he did not see who shot Hung.
“The Indonesian told the NBI that he did not see the actual shooting because he was already in the cabin (where he ducked) after the first volley of gunfire,” a source who was present at the proceedings told the Inquirer.
Chih said the NBI team members did not directly interrogate the boat’s crew.
“The questions were coursed through me and the answers were translated for the NBI by an interpreter of their choice,” Chih said.
A priest from Kaishung City, Fr. Franco Lacamaria, and staff from the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (Meco), the Philippines’ de facto embassy in Taiwan, were the interpreters during the proceedings.
The NBI team, accompanied by Taiwanese prosecutors, on Wednesday examined the Guan Ta Hsin 28, which was docked at Dongka harbor in Pingtung.
Daganzo’s team inspected the bullet holes on the boat, reportedly numbering 45 and made by 7.62 mm bullets fired from M14 rifles or M240 or M60 machine guns.
After inspecting the boat, the NBI team proceeded to Tainan City to examine the voyage recording data of the vessel.
The NBI and the Taiwanese investigative team now in Manila expects to finish their parallel probes this week.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Wednesday said the two teams may discuss their findings, but neither side may impose its conclusions on the other.
Separate conclusions are the “essence of parallel probes as against a joint probe,” De Lima said in a text message to reporters.
“The conclusions of both teams may be exactly the same, or the same in certain respects but different in others, or entirely different, depending on each team’s assessment or appreciation of the overall facts and evidence,” De Lima said.
NBI Deputy Director for Regional Operation Services Virgilio Mendez on Wednesday said the bureau had turned over documentary evidence to the Taiwanese investigative team.
The documents were the statements of the coast guards involved in the incident, maps and other materials that proved helpful to the NBI investigation, Mendez said.
He said the NBI would also give to the Taiwanese team an authenticated copy of a Philippine Coast Guard video of the encounter between a Philippine coastal patrol vessel and Hung’s boat that ended in the fatal shooting of the fisherman in overlapping waters in northern Philippines on May 9.
Mendez said both governments had given strict orders to their investigative teams not to divulge the contents of the video until both had finished their jobs.
Mendez said the NBI’s findings would not have to be reconciled with the Taiwanese investigators’ findings.
“We don’t need to rely on the documents they have. Our case will not depend on what they have,” Mendez said in an interview with the Inquirer.—With reports from Christine O. Avendaño and Erika Sauler
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer’s Reader’s Advocate. Or write The Readers’ Advocate: