2 Chinese held on diplomat killings have immunity

  • 23/10/2015

Two Chinese diplomats being held over a gun attack that killed two colleagues and wounded another have immunity from prosecution and will be sent back to China, the Philippines says.

China's consul-general in the central Philippine city of Cebu survived being shot in the neck, but two of his staff members died during the lunchtime attack in a private room of a restaurant on Wednesday (local time), police said.

Police detained a husband and wife who were at the lunch and foreign ministry spokesman Charles Jose said on Thursday they were both accredited Chinese diplomats.

"Custody will be given to the Chinese side and they will undergo legal process in China," Jose told reporters.

Jose said China had already invoked diplomatic immunity as its right under the United Nations' Vienna Convention.

However the positions held by the two suspects at the consulate remained unclear.

In a statement released before briefing reporters, Jose said those involved in the shooting were "all members" of the Chinese consulate in Cebu.

But the statement then said: "The shooting was an extreme act of a relative of a staff of the consulate general."

In his comments to reporters, Jose did not clarify their positions and said authorities still did not know why the shootings took place.

Staff at the upmarket restaurant in Cebu, the Philippines' second biggest city, earlier told AFP a group of nine people had gathered to celebrate the birthday of the consul-general, Song Ronghua.

They said the group had ordered a banquet, but no alcohol, and loud shouting could be heard before the shots were fired. Aside from the diners, there were no witnesses because the shootings occurred in the private room.