Fisherman Hung Shih-cheng, 65, was shot dead on Thursday when the Philippine coastguard vessel opened fire on his boat 'Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28'. He was in waters south-east of Taiwan and north of the Philippines, an area considered by both countries to be their exclusive economic zone.
It is yet another political headache for the Philippines after a recent diplomatic crisis with Malaysia. A group of armed militants from the Sulu Archipelago in Southern Philippines invaded a town in the Malaysian state of Sabah last February, triggering a standoff that killed 70 people. Thousands of illegal Filipino residents were deported from Malaysia following the conflict and the ensuing security related crackdown.
But Taiwan is not Malaysia. From all angles, economically, technologically and militarily, it has a very wide lead over the Philippines. Taiwan on Sunday dispatched four Lafayette-class naval frigate and coastguard vessels to beef up patrols in waters near the Philippines, and President Ma Ying-jeou issued a 72-hour ultimatum calling for an apology or else it would freeze all Filipino work applications to Taiwan.