A personal financial dispute was behind the shooting that left two Chinese consular officials dead and a Chinese consul general wounded Wednesday in Cebu, Phillipines, police said. The Chinese husband and wife arrested in connection with the crime have invoked diplomatic immunity, police said.
Li Qing Liang, the man identified as the gunman, and Guo Jing, his wife, who works in the consulate, remain under arrest until diplomatic immunity processes are completed, according to Senior Superintendent Rey Lyndon Lawas.
"Their fight was personal," Lawas told International Business Times in a phone interview. "They have a long-standing disagreement over money. It was clearly established it was financial." It wasn't clear if the dispute was with deputy consul Sun Shan or finance officer Li Hui, now both dead, or who allegedly owed money to whom, he said. Song Ronghua, the consul general in Cebu, was wounded but was in stable condition in a hospital, he said.
The shooting occurred at a birthday lunch for a consular employees in a restaurant Wednesday afternoon. Li and Guo, who were identified by witnesses and through security camera footage, were arrested soon after.
Lawas said China's Manila consul general and a Philippine foreign affairs official met with the suspects Wednesday night and informed the police about their invoking special rights. Calls and an e-mail to Chinese officials in Manila and Cebu were unanswered. In a text message, Philippine foreign affairs spokesman Charles Jose said he was not authorized to comment "while consultations are ongoing."
"They have invoked diplomatic immunity," Lawas said. "We prepared documents for the filing of the case but were informed by the consul general. We are awaiting final guidance. I was assured they will process at the soonest possible time."
Lawas said Li would have been charged with murder "because he already brought a gun. He had intentions."