PHL to release 2 Chinese poachers

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Monday, May 12, 2014


TWO of the 11 Chinese fishermen arrested for poaching at the West Philippine Sea are set to be released by the government after they were found to be minors.

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the government has decided to release the two since they cannot be prosecuted under Philippine laws.

“The two were confirmed to be minors after a medical check-up conducted by our medical authorities,” said the DFA.

The two minors are part of the Chinese crew that were arrested last week in Hasa-Hasa (Half Moon) Shoal for violating Philippine fisheries laws.

The Philippines has already said that Hasa-Hasa Shoal is part of the Kalayaan Island Group and within the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

According to the DFA, the two will be turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Palawan.

“The two minors will be turned over to the DSWD Regional Office in Palawan for subsequent release in accordance with Philippine regulations,” said the DFA.

Also on Monday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that the other nine Chinese fishermen are facing cases of violation of Section 87 (Poaching in Philippine Waters) and Section 97 (Fishing or Taking of Rare, Threatened or Endangered Species) of the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 before a Palawan court.

Last week, the Philippine maritime police arrested a Chinese fishing boat with 11 crewmen and its haul of about 500 turtles near the Spratly Islands, specifically near the Half Moon Shoal.

The Chinese side had demanded the release of their nationals, saying they have indisputable sovereignty over the disputed areas and that the arrests severely violate China's sovereignty and maritime rights. (HDT/Sunnex)

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