Navy guns used to stop Viet boat tested
LINGAYEN, PANGASINAN—The 10 M-16 rifles and two 50 caliber machine guns on the Philippine Navy ship that accosted a Vietnamese fishing boat last week underwent ballistics tests, as a multiagency task force looked into the fatal shooting of two Vietnamese fishermen during the operation.
The Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame validated the results of samples taken by the police, while investigators from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group took the statements of five Vietnamese fishermen who survived the operation.
On Thursday, the provincial committee on illegal entrants (PCIE) convened to look into the case of Le Van Liem, 41, and Le Van Reo, 41, who were found dead on their boat’s deck on Sept. 23 when Navy personnel boarded the fishing boat following a brief chase at the West Philippine Sea.
“It’s becoming clearer but I can’t discuss the details,” said Chief Insp. Christopher Natnat, PCIE spokesperson, shortly after the committee’s fourth meeting here.
The testimony of boat captain, Pham To, 34, and his crewmen, Phan Lam, 34, Nguyen Thanh Chi, 49, Phan Van Liem, 41, and Nguyen Van Trong, 41, were recorded in the presence of a Vietnamese embassy representative and an interpreter, Natnat said.
“The Navy crew and the ship captain have also submitted their affidavits. The autopsy reports are now complete,” he said.
The five fishermen were detained in their fishing boat docked at the wharf in Sual town.
A police report said the bodies of Liem and Reo bore bullet wounds.
Natnat said he could not say whether the Navy was liable for the death of the two fishermen. —GABRIEL CARDINOZA
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.