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Philippines' investigation team on shooting incident to leave for Taiwan


19:47, May 22, 2013

MANILA, May 22 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines will soon send an investigation team to Taiwan to gather evidence on the death of a Taiwanese fisherman killed by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Wednesday.

"The team will be leaving very soon," de Lima told reporters Wednesday, but she would not confirm when the team would exactly leave for Taipei, explaining that is because the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) team would not want to be disrupted by media while completing their tasks there.

But local media quoted NBI director Nonnatus Rojas as saying that the team would leave either Thursday or Friday.

De Lima said a team from the NBI's foreign liaison division and forensic experts had been given the go-signal by Taiwan to get statements from rest of the crew of the Guang Ta Hsin 28, where fisherman Hung Shih-cheng was killed, and also examine the said fishing vessel.

Aside from getting statements of the surviving crew, the NBI team will also seek a re-autopsy of the slain fisherman's body, though de Lima said it would still need approval from the victim's family.

"More or less, we now have a substantive and clear picture of what really happened," she said.

Taiwanese authorities earlier said the PCG personnel intentionally killed Hung, noting that majority of the gunshots hit the cockpit of the fishing vessel where the slain fisherman and his companion hid during the chase, which was recorded by the voyage data recorder published Tuesday by Taiwan's Fisheries Agency.

The shooting incident happened on May 9 when Philippine Coast Guard shot dead the 65-year-old Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih- Cheng. PCG personnel admitted firing on the Taiwanese fishing vessel.

Taiwan's move to allow the NBI team to go to Taipei came after both parties agreed to "cooperate" on the probe.

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