Cebu shooting: Envoys flown to China for trial

MANILA • Two Chinese diplomats have been flown to China to stand trial for a gun attack in the Philippines that killed two of their colleagues and wounded another, the Philippine authorities said yesterday.

China's consul-general in the central city of Cebu survived after being shot in the neck, but two of his staff members died during the lunchtime attack at a restaurant last Wednesday.

"They (the suspects) already left last night, direct flight from Cebu to Xiamen," foreign ministry spokesman Charles Jose told Agence France-Presse in a text message.

"Yes, they will be prosecuted in China," he added.

The motive for the gun attack was not known, and the positions held by the two suspects at the consulate remained unclear.

China has the death penalty, while the Philippines does not.

The Chinese foreign ministry has given little information about the attack.

Chinese embassy spokesman Li Lingxiao said she had no comment on the Philippine government's announcement on the transfer of custody.

Staff at the upmarket Cebu restaurant earlier said the victims and suspects were among nine Chinese diners who had gathered to celebrate the birthday of the consul-general, Mr Song Ronghua.

The Chinese embassy in Manila later described the couple as accredited Chinese diplomats and invoked diplomatic immunity, Mr Jose has said.

The Cebu provincial police chief, Superintendent Tom Banas, said police handed the suspects over to the Philippine foreign ministry last Friday night.

"I was informed they have already been flown out to China," Supt Banas said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 25, 2015, with the headline 'Cebu shooting: Envoys flown to China for trial'. Print Edition | Subscribe