Philippines to charge 'poachers' despite China warning
Published on May 12, 2014 3:36 PM
PUERTO PRINCESA, Philippines (AFP) - Philippine prosecutors said on Monday they would charge nine Chinese fishermen arrested in disputed South China Sea waters with environmental crimes, despite Beijing's warning of a dire effect on relations.
The decision, announced by prosecutors in Puerto Princesa on Palawan island, is set to further stoke the simmering territorial dispute in the South China Sea.
Prosecutor Allan Ross Rodriguez said he would file charges in court later Monday, rejecting the appeals of two Chinese diplomats who met him earlier in the day about the case.
"It is clear: there was a fishing vessel, Chinese fishermen, a catch of (protected) sea turtles. It is clear from what the apprehending officers said," Mr Rodriguez said, explaining the basis for his decision. Chinese embassy officials in Manila could not be contacted for comment.
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