A district court in the Philippines this week ordered the release of nine Chinese fishermen who’d been, according to China, “illegally detained” there for a year.
On May 6, 2014, the Philippine police arrested 11 Chinese fishermen for the poaching of sea turtles and seized their boat at Half Moon Shoal. Nine of the men on board were put in jail after failing to pay fines of $100,000 each for poaching and additional fines of $2,662 each for catching the endangered species.
“They were treated well. They had what other prisoners were eating. Chinese businessmen were also allowed to bring them food like noodles,” Raul Mapa, a jail officer, told the AFP.
The incident further escalated tensions between the Philippines and China, which argued that the fishermen had been “illegally detained”. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that the Half Moon Shoal, or Banyue Reef in China, is part of its own Nansha Island chain, meaning that Philippines’ legal action against the Chinese fishermen would’ve been illegal and invalid.
The relationship between the two nations has long been strained. Last week, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III was slammed by China for remarks he made comparing the Chinese territorial rise in the South China Sea to Nazi Germany.
By Crystal Lau
[Images via news.qq.com]