Death penalty awaits suspects in the killing of Chinese consul in Cebu
Two Chinese diplomats have been flown to China to stand trial for a gun attack in Cebu City that killed two of their colleagues and wounded another, Filipino authorities said Saturday.
China’s consul general in Cebu, Song Ronghua, survived after being shot in the neck, but two of his staff members – deputy consul Li Hui and finance officer Shen Sun — died during the lunchtime attack at the Lighthouse Restaurant on General Maxilom (Mango) Avenue in Barangay Carreta, Cebu City on Wednesday.
“They (the suspects) already left last night, direct flight from Cebu to Xiamen,” Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said.
“Yes, they will be prosecuted in China,” he added.
Chief Supt. Prudencio Bañas, chief of the Central Visayas regional police, initially said the suspects would be taken to the Chinese Embassy in Manila.
He later corrected himself, saying “I was informed they have already been flown out to China”.
A convoy of at least six vehicles took the suspects to the Mactan Cebu International Airport in Lapu-Lapu City on Friday night.
Bañas said the convoy escorting the suspects, Gou Jing, a member of the consular staff, and her husband Li Qing Liang left the regional police headquarters in Camp Sergio Osmena at 6:30 p.m
Bañas said he was in the convoy together with representatives from the DFA and the Chinese Embassy in Manila.
The motive of the gun attack was not known, and the positions held by the two suspects at the consulate remained unclear. Earlier reports said Gou was assigned in the consulate’s visa section.
The Chinese embassy in Manila later described the couple as accredited Chinese diplomats and invoked diplomatic immunity, DFA’s Jose has said.
China has the death penalty, while the Philippines does not.
The Chinese foreign ministry has given little information about the attack.
Chinese embassy spokeswoman Li Lingxiao said she had no comment to make on the Philippine government’s announcement over the transfer of custody.
Staff at the upmarket Cebu restaurant earlier said the victims and suspects were among nine Chinese diners who had gathered to celebrate the birthday of consul general Song. AFP