VN Navy Raids Vessel in Cambodian Waters

Six Cambodian nationals, in­clud­ing two border police and two fish­eries officials, were temporarily de­tained by Vietnamese authorities over the weekend after a Viet­nam­ese patrol allegedly entered Cam­­bodian waters and took their vessel by force, officials said Mon­day.

The six included fisheries officials Ly Seila and Prak Sovann, border policemen Kao Man and Dol Chhean, boat driver Sim Phan and boat worker Em Chantha, the chief of Kampot prov­ince’s fishery department Song Lon and provincial Deputy Gov­ernor Run Chan­da­rith said Tuesday.

The incident reportedly took place around 5 pm Saturday after the Cambodian vessel chased a Viet­namese boat that was seen net­ting fish near Kampot prov­ince’s Kro Ngor Island, about 5 km into Cambodian waters. The patrol boat gave chase but was forced to break off when the fishing boat crossed the maritime border with Vietnam, Song Lon said.

The Cambodian vessel had re­treated about 5 km or 6 km back in­­side Cambodian waters when a Viet­­namese naval vessel ap­proached them and fired machine gun salvos into the air. The Cam­bodians were then arrested, handcuffed and taken to Vietnam’s Kien Giang province, Song Lon said. They were released on Sun­day evening.

The fisheries officials and border police alleged that they were beaten, Song Lon said.

“We arrest about 100 or 200 Viet­namese nationals fishing illegally in Cambodian waters every year,” he said. “We never torture or handcuff them. We give them food and take care of them. We res­pect their human rights” ac­cording to an agreement signed be­tween the adjacent provinces governing the repatriation of fisheries workers, he said.

Run Chandarith said Tues­day that a meeting was held in Kam­pot to prepare a report on the in­ci­dent for the Interior Ministry and that a complaint was filed with the governor of Kien Giang prov­ince.

“Their provocative act against our officials is a violation of the agreement,” Run Chandarith said.

Officials at the Vietnamese Em­bassy in Phnom Penh could not be reached for comment on Tues­day.


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