One missing Vietnamese fishermen remains unaccounted for after the firing. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong
Vietnam has condemned the shooting of two men and the sinking of two of its boats.
Vietnam has asked Thailand to launch an investigation into an attack by Thai naval forces on Vietnamese fishing boats last week.
Vietnamese Foreign Ministry said in a statement Monday that in the encounter on July 8, Thai naval forces opened fire on three Vietnamese fishing boats from Ben Tre Province with 18 crew members on board, leaving two fishermen injured and another missing. Two of the boats sank after colliding with Thai naval vessels.
Pham Thu Hang, the deputy spokesperson for the Vietnamese foreign ministry, said in the statement that the Vietnam Embassy in Thailand is working with local authorities to verify what actually happened while providing support for the fishermen who are being held in custody. On the same day, a representative of the Vietnamese foreign ministry met with counterparts from the Thai Embassy in Hanoi to protest the use of force against Vietnamese fishermen.
Nguyen Hai Ngoc, the first secretary of the Vietnam Embassy in Thailand, had said earlier that firing on foreign fishing vessels over territorial disputes is against the law and international practices.
Thailand has sent a number of aircraft and ships to search for the missing Vietnamese fisherman, according to Nguyen Tat Thanh, the Vietnam ambassador to Thailand. So far, Vietnam has yet to receive any official response from Thai authorities.
The two injured fishermen have been identified as Nguyen Van Queo (29) and Nguyen Van Linh (25). Queo was shot in the leg while Linh was wounded in the shoulder. The fishermen are currently being held at Naval Zone 2 of Thailand’s Royal Navy in the southern province of Songkhla.
Thanh told VnExpress on Monday that he had met with the Vietnamese fishermen who were arrested by Thai authorities last week. Two were injured, but they are up and about again, Thanh added.
This is the second time Thai warships have opened fire on Vietnamese fishing vessels and injured fishermen. In September last year, Thai warships opened fire on a Vietnamese fishing boat, killing one crew member.