In fact, 53 bullet trajectories were registered on Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28. Moreover, coast guard personnel aboard the patrol vessel claimed that commanding officer Arnold Dela Cruz, ordered to open fire after the fishing vessel failed to respond to the warning shots.
The jury determined that Dela Cruz's order to open fire could substantially demonstrate an intent to kill the fisherman taking into account the quantity of gunfire on board, eventually siding with the prosecutors. The other coast guard personnel members were subsequently found guilty of the crime regardless of whether they fired at the victim or not, as their compliance demonstrates their agreement to kill the the Taiwanese fisherman.
Judge Eduardo Ramon R. Reyes noted that
After sifting through the evidence presented, the Court is convinced that the prosecution has been able to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of homicide.
Specifically, the eight Philippine coast guard members were sentenced to 14 years imprisonment and were fined $2,000 each. They have been released on bail and are filling an appeal, while waiting for the decision of a higher court. After the verdict of the jury, the defendants' lawyer claimed that at the time of the supposed crime, the coast guard members were interdicting a foreign boat poaching.
Counsel Rodrigo Moreno quoted that the Taiwanese boat was ultimately stealing from the Philippines and that the coast guard patrol member were protecting the Philippines from Taiwanese thieves.
The guilty coast guard members are Edrando Aguila, Mhelvin Bendo II, Andy Gibb Golfo, Sunny Masangkay, Henry Solomon, Nicky Reynold Aurelio, petty officer Richard Corpuz and commanding officer Arnold Dela Cruz.
The area where the shooting took place, a disputed region east of the Batanes Islands, is a hotspot for conflict between Philippine and Taiwanese interests, as the Taiwanese government doubts the boundary between its EEZ and that of the Philippines. Taiwanese investigators and experts played a crucial role building the case against the eight coast guard members, under the mutual criminal justice assistance treaty signed in 2012 between the two countries.
Overall, the Taiwanese law enforcement agencies applauded decision of the court.