China gives different version of the June 9 incident between PH, Chinese vessels in Reed Bank

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 14) — China has a different version of what happened on the night of June 9 in the Reed Bank.

The Chinese embassy released a statement on Facebook Friday night about the result of its preliminary investigation on the "so-called collision of fishing boats between Chinese and the Philippines."

"At 2400 hours on June 9, 2019, 'Yuemaobinyu 42212', a Chinese fishing boat from Guangdong Province, China, engaged in a light purse seine operation, was berthed at the vicinity of Liyue Tan (Reed Bank) of the Nansha Qundao. It was suddenly besieged by 7 or 8 Filipino boats, and its steel cable on the lighting grid of larboard bumped into the Filipino pilothouse. The Filipino fishing boat tilted and its stern foundered," the embassy said in a statement.

"The Chinese captain tried to rescue the Filipino fishermen, but was afraid of being besieged by other Filipino fishing boats. Therefore, having confirmed the fishermen from the Filipino boat were rescued on board of other Filipino fishing boats, 42212 sailed away from the scene," it further said.

The statement concluded that the findings showed "that there is no such thing as hit-and-run."

However, the statement was deleted about an hour and a half after it was posted. CNN Philippines is currently reaching out to the Chinese Embassy for clarification.

The Chinese Embassy account was contrary to the claims of the captain of the Philippine fishing vessel F/B GEMVIR 1, Jonnel Insigne, who said that the Chinese ship left them immediately after the incident.

"Nung nakita kaming lubog na, naglalanguyan na kami, biglang umatras po ng mabilis bago pinatay yung ilaw. Nag-tatakbo palayo, iniwanan na po kami," Insigne told reporters Friday.

[Translation: When they saw that our boat was sinking and that we were swimming, it backed away quickly and turned off its lights. It left, abandoning us.]

He added that his crew is sure that the offending boat was Chinese, based on the lighting equipment it used.

Twenty-two fishermen were rescued from the boat, 21 of them were able to go back to their families on Friday, while the boat's mechanic remained on the damaged boat and followed later.

Lt. Col. Stephen Penetrante, acting Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Command spokesperson, likened the incident to a hit-and-run, as the Chinese vessel "abandoned" the Philippine boat when it started sinking.

The Philippines has already filed a diplomatic protest on the incident Wednesday.

READ: Filipino boat sinks after it was hit by Chinese vessel in West Philippine Sea