Consul-general survives attack; another diplomat, husband arrested
CEBU CITY: Two Chinese diplomats were killed and a third was injured in a gun attack at a restaurant frequented by local politicians in downtown Cebu City on Wednesday, police said.
The Chinese consulate’s deputy consul Sun Shan and finance officer Hui Li were pronounced dead at the hospital, while the consul-general, Song Ronghua, was wounded, national police spokesman and Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor said in a text message.
Song was appointed consul-general in charge of the Chinese mission in Cebu only last September.
Two were arrested after the attack–Li Qing Liang, reportedly the husband of a diplomat at the consulate, and Gou Jing, a member of the consular staff, according to Mayor.
He said police retrieved a semi-automatic .45 Colt Defender pistol, three spent shells, two deformed slugs and a live round from the scene.
The attack took place at 1:30 p.m. at the Lighthouse Restaurant on Gen. Maxilom Avenue.
A report from Cebu radio station dySS said the diplomats together with a group of Chinese were attending a birthday celebration inside the restaurant’s function room.
Supt. Romeo Santander, chief of the Cebu City Police Office Criminal Investigation Branch, told The Manila Times that he gunman casually walked into the restaurant and fired at the victims.
Santander said Gou was also arrested after witnesses said she took the pistol that Li allegedly left on the table before he fled.
A local police official, meanwhile, said they were prohibited by higher headquarters (Camp Crame I Quezon City) from making further statements as the incident involves “national security.”
Another police source said they are yet to determine the motive behind the attack but apparently the suspects and the victims knew each other.
Stephen John Patero, the restaurant manager, said the shooting happened in a private room of the upmarket restaurant, a favorite of local politicians.
“We did not really see the actual shooting. They were inside a private function room. There was a series of gunshots,” Patero told Agence France-Presse by phone.
But, according to him, waiters who served them beforehand had heard the guests shouting at each other.
“They are all friends who apparently figured in an argument,” he said, citing the waiters.
A spokesman at the Chinese Embassy in Manila, Li Lingxiao, said she could not comment immediately.
“Our embassy is still verifying the facts. We’ll update you as soon as I have anything new,” Li said in a text message.
Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said he also had no comment, as authorities were still determining what happened.
WITH BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON AND AFP