Philippines probing shooting accusations by Vietnamese fishermen: report

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The Philippine government is investigating accusations by Vietnamese fishermen that Philippine forces shot and wounded them while fishing off the East Sea, according to a news report by GMA News.

Abigail Valte, deputy spokesperson of Philippine President, said on government radio that the president's office has not received any official report on the matter as of Saturday.

Pham Hung, deputy chairman of Binh Son District in the central province of Quang Ngai, told Vietnamese media on May 19 that two fishermen were shot by an armed group near Truong Sa (Spratly) islands three days earlier.

The shooters also took food, fish and fuel from the Vietnamese boat which carried 14 crew members.

The two injured men, Nguyen Tan Luan, the 39-year-old captain, and sailor Nguyen Tu, were taken to a hospital in Malaysia for treatment.

After the incident, the fishermen called their families to inform of the shooting.

The fishermen's families described the shooters as wearing Philippine uniforms, Hung said.

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The fishermen were working under a fishing contract on the waters of Malaysia and were on the way back to Vietnam when the incident happened, according to police of Binh Chau Commune in Binh Son District.

The police added the fishermen's injuries were not serious and the boat was heading home.

A Philippine Navy officer has already denied that military personnel were involved.

"We definitely would not open fire. Rules of engagement say you do not use gunfire except in self-defense," said Commodore Mike Rodriguez.

According to GMA News, Filipino pirates have occasionally worn military uniforms or camouflage in their criminal activities.

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