Several officers from Kien Giang Province, located in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, have been held hostage by the operators of illegal fishing boats after inspections took place on Saturday night.
The group of law enforcers including three from the police department in An Minh District, Kien Giang, and five local border guards were tasked with the inspection at around 8:00 pm, Colonel Ho Tu Dien, deputy chief of the Kien Giang Border Guard, confirmed on Sunday afternoon.
The team borrowed boats from local fishermen in order to approach the targets, who were fishing illegally in the maritime area off Van Khanh Tay Commune, in which any type of aquaculture activity is banned, Col. Dien continued.
As the inspectors, along with two fishermen who offered their help, returned after the mission, they were pursued and subsequently detained by the violators.
The victims were then transferred onto several of the unlawful fishing ships and brought to the mainland in Ha Tien Town, Kien Giang, Dien said, adding that two of the hostages had still not been brought ashore by 5:00 pm on Sunday.
According to the deputy chief, the exact number of people and boats that participated in the illegal arrest is yet to be confirmed.
Competent authorities in Kien Giang have tried to convince the illegal fishermen to release the officers.
Mai Anh Nhin, vice-chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, who has been supervising the case, said that ensuring the safety of the detainees would be the top priority.
After the officers are set free, an investigation will be carried out and those responsible will be punished according to the law, Nhin asserted.
It is the second time this year an incident involving unlawful arrests has happened in Ha Tien Town.
On March 18, four local border guards were kept in custody by illegal fishermen after a conflict between the two parties.