Police Arrest Dozens of Vietnamese Fishermen

Thirty-nine Vietnamese fishermen caught trawling in Cambodian waters are awaiting deportation in Koh Kong province after being arrested by immigration police on Saturday, an official said Sunday.

Uk Heisela, chief of investigations at the Interior Ministry’s immigration department, said the fishermen were arrested after docking on the mainland, 13 in Mondol Seima district’s Bak Khlang commune and 26 in Kiri Sakor district’s Koh Sdech commune.

“Some of them were arrested in Koh Sdech commune and others were arrested in Bak Khlang commune, and a total of 11 fishing boats were seized,” Major General Heisela said.

“This is the fourth time that immigration police arrested illegal fishermen in Koh Kong province for illegally trawling the sea,” he said, adding that each of the previous three cases resulted in between 15 and 20 arrests.

Provincial police chief Sam Khit Vien said it had become common for Vietnamese fishermen to plunder the sea off the coast of Koh Kong.

“We cannot stop them when they sneak into our waters because we don’t have boats that are faster than theirs,” he said, explaining that authorities were only able to take action when the fishermen docked their vessels.

Nhem Dara, chief of the provincial immigration department, also complained about a lack of resources to stop illegal fishing, and offered different dates for the most recent arrests.

“We arrested them last week on July 13 and July 14, and we will deport them tomorrow,” he said.

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