MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A Chinese consular officer and her husband, who allegedly killed two other Chinese diplomats and wounded their consul-general in a Philippine city, have been taken back to China where they will be tried, officials said Saturday.
Philippine police turned over the couple to Chinese authorities, who flew them to Xiamen in southeastern China on a chartered flight from central Cebu City on Friday, two days after the fatal shooting inside a restaurant, said Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose.
Police say the consul's husband has been accused of killing diplomats Sun Shan and Hui Li and wounding Consul-General Song Ronghua on Wednesday at the Lighthouse Restaurant in Cebu, where China had established a consulate.
Jose said the Chinese government had invoked diplomatic immunity for the couple under the 1961 Vienna Convention and a 2009 bilateral accord between Beijing and Manila.
"They will be tried under Chinese law," Jose said. "They (Chinese authorities) asked for help, so the evidence obtained by the (Philippine police) will be shared with them."
Regional police director Chief Superintendent Prudencio Tom Banas said the couple has not issued any statement that could explain the motive for the shooting partly because they could not speak English. The victims and the suspects were attending a birthday lunch in a private room at the restaurant when the shooting occurred, Banas said.
Police Senior Superintendent Rey Lyndon Lawas said one of the restaurant staff heard arguments "over financial matters" before shots were fired.
China has previously insisted on trying its citizens who have been accused of crimes in other countries. A Beijing court sentenced a Chinese man to life in prison in 2012 for murdering his girlfriend in Canada. In 2011, a Shanghai court handed a 15-year prison term to a Chinese man who admitted he killed a taxi driver in Auckland.
Associated Press writers Jim Gomez in Manila and Christopher Bodeen in Beijing contributed to this report.