Kampot Fisheries Officer Killed in Gulf Battle

A Kampot province fisheries officer was killed and another is missing after an apparent skirmish with Vietnamese fishermen in the Gulf of Thailand about 11 pm Wednes­day, an official said Thursday.

Phat Saroeun, 38, an officer with the provincial fisheries administration, went with four other officers to investigate a report that Vietna­mese fishermen were working illegally in Cambodia’s Lokamoy fishing area near Koh Touch island, said provincial deputy governor Tuon Bunthorn.

Once the fishery officials arrived, they were chased, and a gun was fired 10 times, killing Phat Saroeun, Tuon Bunthorn said. Three of the remaining officers escaped, but officer Chea Sarann, 36, went missing in the gulf during the confrontation, Tuon Bunthorn added.

“We sent our working group to take our fisheries officer’s dead body,” he said.

“We are not clear on what happened during the shooting last night,” Chan Sarun, minster of ag­riculture, forestry and fisher­ies, said by telephone Thursday. “My people went there…. I got some information this morning, and I will get clearer information late today.”

Nao Thuok, director general of the Fisheries Administration, said he hadn’t received any information about a shooting, but said he would look into the matter. So Rin, director of Kampot province fisheries administration, could not be reached for comment.

Trinh Ba Cam, spokesman for the Vietnamese Embassy in Phnom Penh, said he didn’t have details about the incident.

“I did not receive any information about a shooting in Kampot province between Vietnamese and Cambodian fishery officers, but I don’t believe this information is true,” he said.

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