Border guards in the southernmost Vietnamese province of Ca Mau had discovered a fishing vessel carrying 34 Vietnamese illegally entering from Malaysia, local authorities said on Wednesday.
The case was detected when the border guards of the Song Doc Border Guard Station and Song Doc Town police officers were patrolling the locality in the early hours of Wednesday.
At around 1:00 am on the same day, the patrol team saw the fishing boat numbered CM 91651 TS, owned and captained by Pham Van Chin, who hails from Nguyen Phich Commune in Ca Mau’s U Minh District, showing some suspicious signs when it was about two nautical miles (3.7km) from the Sao Luoi estuary.
As the officers inspected the boat, they found 34 strange people, including nine men and 25 women, on the vessel.
After requesting Chin to drive the boat to the Song Doc estuary, the authorities were able to verify that all of the 34 people are Vietnamese hailing from different localities.
They had left for Malaysia by air for work, but attempted to sneak into Vietnam by sea amid travel restrictions to prevent coronavirus spread.
Local authorities have conducted medical examinations and sent all of the border jumpers and crew members on the fishing boat to a centralized quarantine center for COVID-19 prevention and control according to regulations.
The case is currently being further clarified.
Last month, 38 Vietnamese people from Malaysia were caught attempting to go through the Song Doc estuary on a fishing boat to return home.
Ca Mau Province has a coastline of more than 254km, with over 80 estuaries connecting to the sea territory bordering several countries.
Cases of making illegal entry by sea through the province have been rampant and complicated, especially when the Lunar New Year festival is approaching.
Facing the situation, Ca Mau authorities have called on people to maintain high spirits for COVID-19 prevention and make immediate reports whenever detecting a suspicious illegal arrival in the locality.