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Vietnamese victims of Thai shootings take legal action against attackers

Vietnamese victims of Thai shootings take legal action against attackers

Thursday, September 24, 2015, 16:45 GMT+7

The wife of a Vietnamese fisherman who was shot dead by the crew of a Thai police ship nearly two weeks ago has carried out procedures to sue the attackers for compensation.

Nguyen Thi Kim Phuong, the spouse of Ngo Van Sinh, who died at 38 after being shot by Thai coast guard officers, contacted a representative of Ho Chi Minh City-based Ha Hai & Associates Law Office on Tuesday for help with the legal proceedings in her husband’s death.

Lawyer Ha Hai had announced that his firm was willing to provide free consultancy on such a lawsuit for Sinh’s relatives as well as the two fishers injured in the attacks, during which the crew of the ship Thai Police 528 opened fire on six Vietnamese fishing boats on September 11 off the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang.   

The Thais maintained that the location of the shootings lies about 40km from their Narathiwat Province, which means it is well within Thailand’s waters.

Meanwhile, the Vietnam Fisheries Resources Surveillance Department underlined that the site is in the waters between Vietnam and Malaysia.

Sinh was the captain and steersman of one of the fishing boats while Nguyen Hung Cuong, one of the two injured people, is the captain and steersman of another local ship.  

“I wish lawyers and state agencies will help me claim justice for my deceased husband, so that his soul could rest in peace in the other world and my children will not suffer from a complex that their father violated the law so seriously that he was shot dead by the Thai force,” Phuong told lawyer Le Van Duc, who represents the law firm.

Phuong made the statement after handing her petition for legal consultancy to the lawyer as the first step in the legal process against the attackers.

Cuong has also followed suit, after lawyer Duc told him about the legality and eligibility for him, as well as Phuong, to claim the compensation.

Lawyer Hai said that even if the Vietnamese boats had violated the Thai waters, the ship Thai Police 528 would not have been allowed to shoot at them.

“Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life,” the lawyer said, citing Article 1 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, to which Thailand is party.

The Thai ship’s shootings, regardless of any reason, did violate this convention, the lawyer said.

The shootings also broke both the Thai fishing law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Point i, Clause 2, Article 19) as under these laws, such shootings exceeded the allowable level, lawyer Hai said.

In addition, such shootings flouted Articles 290, 291 and 295 of the Thai Penal Code, he added.

Regarding the treatment for Cuong, whose right thighbone broke after being shot by the Thai force, Dr. Truong Cong Thanh, deputy director of the Kien Giang Province General Hospital, said on Tuesday that the patient would have to be transferred to Ho Chi Minh City-based Cho Ray Hospital or Trauma and Orthopedics Hospital for further treatment.

“The transfer is necessary as complications have arisen from the bone fractures,” Dr. Thanh said.


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