Philippines to turn over 2 Chinese diplomats who shot dead Chinese consulate staff in Cebu
By Michaela del Callar

MANILA, Oct. 22 (PNA) -- The Philippine government will turn over to China the custody of two Chinese diplomats who shot dead two staff members of the Chinese consulate in Cebu and seriously wounded the post’s Consul General, citing their right to diplomatic immunity.

Armed with a .45-caliber pistol, Li Qing Ling, 60, and his wife, Consul Gou Jing, barged into Lighthouse Restaurant in Cebu City Wednesday and shot Consul General Song Rong Hua and his deputy consul Sun Shan and finance officers Hui Li. Sun and Hui were killed, while Song survived the shooting.

“They enjoy diplomatic immunity. Custody will be given to the Chinese side and they will undergo the legal process in China,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said Thursday at a media briefing.

A security team from Beijing will arrive in Manila anytime to secure custody of the two diplomats, Jose said.

The motive for the shooting remains unknown, Jose said, adding that the two can not be compelled by Philippine authorities to speak as they are not covered by the country’s criminal jurisdiction. Jose explained that the two enjoy immunity from receiving state's criminal laws under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and under the 2009 Consular Agreement between Manila and Beijing.

“They are diplomats accredited to the Philippines so they enjoy diplomatic immunity,” he added.

In the meantime, the Chinese embassy in Manila and consulate in Cebu have been extending their full cooperation with Philippine authorities regarding the investigation, Jose said.

Upon the request of the Chinese Embassy in Manila, the couple will remain under the supervision of Cebu police.

“As soon as their security team from Beijing arrives here we will turn over the custody to the Chinese side,” Jose said. (PNA)

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