The border guard force in the southern Vietnamese province of Kien Giang is investigating the recent shootings of local fishing boats by an unidentified armed foreign ship, leaving one steersman dead and another injured. Colonel Tran Quoc Lap, vice commander of the provincial Headquarters of Border Guard, made the statement on Monday, adding that competent agencies are verifying all information related to the attacks. Opening fire on fishing boats is unacceptable, as it is an inhumane act that goes against international law and the laws of the coastal countries in Southeast Asia, Col. Lap said. Preliminary investigation results showed that at 3:00 pm on September 11, three pairs of Vietnamese fishing boats were operating off the province when they were approached by a foreign-flagged speedboat armed with a machine gun, the colonel said. The foreign ship, with six crew members in camouflaged battledress, then got close to one of the three pairs, owned by Bui Tan Minh, who comes from Kien Giang’s Rach Gia City, the official said. The foreigners then detained the captain of one of the two local boats, Nam, and took him to their ship before moving on to chase the other fishing vessels. When the foreign ship approached another pair of fishing boats – KG-94811 TS and KG-94812 TS – its crew used a walkie-talkie to broadcast an order in Vietnamese: “Yêu cầu tàu Việt Nam dừng lại, không dừng sẽ bắn chết…” (“The Vietnamese ships are required to stop or you will be shot dead…”). As soon as the order was given, the foreign ship fired at the boat KG-94811 TS for about 15 minutes. After seeing the local boat’s captain and steersman, Nguyen Hung Cuong, suffered injuries in his right thighbone, the foreign ship began to run after the other boat KG-94812 TS and then shot at it for 10 minutes. The foreign ship later chased and opened fire on the last pair of fishing vessels, KG-94058 TS and KG-94059 TS, for 15 minutes. After finding that one of the two captains of the local boats, Ngo Van Sinh, 38, died in his cabin, the foreign ship left the waters. However, the attacking vessel returned soon later, releasing Nam to his boat and seizing all the communication devices on board before leaving the waters again. “Given such attacks, we once again advise that local fishermen absolutely comply with the sea-related laws and regulations of Vietnam and its neighbors to avoid regrettable losses of their lives and property as well as not to cause damage to the diplomatic ties between Vietnam and other countries,” Col. Lap said. Regarding the health conditions of Captain Cuong, Dr. Truong Cong Thanh, deputy director of the Kien Giang General Hospital, where he is being treated, said his injuries are complicated and he may be transferred to another hospital for further treatment in a few days to come.
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