Philippine court charges nine Chinese fishermen with poaching
Nine Chinese fishermen, arrested by the Philippines police May 6, were Monday formally charged with poaching endangered species in Philippine waters.
Manila: Nine Chinese fishermen, arrested by the Philippines police May 6, were Monday formally charged with poaching endangered species in Philippine waters.
The fishermen were nabbed near China`s Half Moon Shoal in the South China Sea and were formally charged by the Palawan Regional Trial Court in western Philippines, Xinhua reported.
Allen Ross Rodriguez, Palawan province prosecutor, said the charges were filed following investigation proceedings which were pushed through despite the fishermen`s refusal to be represented by a counsel.
Rodriguez, however, dismissed similar charges against two other Chinese fishermen, arrested along with the nine fishermen, as they were said to be minors.
The prosecutorial hearing was supposed to be conducted last Friday but was deferred as the fishermen were not represented by any lawyer and interpreter yet.
The Philippine Department of Justice said the Chinese fishermen refused to be represented by public attorneys being provided to them during the hearing.
China`s foreign ministry Wednesday urged the Philippines to "immediately" release the detained fishermen and their boat.
However, the Philippines ignored China`s demand and took the 11 Chinese fishermen to Puerto Princesa in Palawan, claiming they were found poaching endangered species in Philippine waters.