The Chinese Navy chased a passenger boat carrying a news crew in the disputed West Philippine Sea, on Thursday.
Philippine broadcaster ABS-CBN reported that their news crew on board a civilian boat was travelling to Ayungin Shoal within the country’s exclusive economic zone, when a Chinese Coast Guard vessel was spotted nearby.
The Chinese vessel radioed asking the passenger boat to identify themselves, to which the captain responded by steering the boat away from the shoal as they did not understand the English message.
The Chinese vessel with bow number 5101, gave chase to the Filipino boat while on its way to mainland Palawan for an hour.
After the vessel turned away, two People’s Liberation Army Navy Houbei Type 22 missile vessels were spotted continuing the chase.
“Within minutes, the unique shape and design of the Houbei Type 22 missile fast attack craft became visible. The two missile-capable boats resumed the chase,” ABS-CBN said.
The ABS-CBN crew reported GPS coordinates told them their boat was only 90 nautical miles from Palawan, well within the country’s territory.
Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. took to Twitter, “What’s worrisome is that it seems—please verify—ABSCBN crew weren’t in a boat they hired (inviting risk) but in a passenger boat. Now that’s a whole other banana; the state is sworn to protect the Philippine public. And you don’t give chase; you use your bullhorn to warn off.”
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