|Thai navy detained a Vietnamese vessel in April for illegally fishing in Thailand.—VNA/VNS Photo|Viet Nam News
BANGKOK – Thai naval forces have opened fire on three Vietnamese fishing boats from the Mekong Delta province of Bến Tre with 18 fishermen on board, according to the Vietnamese Embassy in Thailand.
The firing, at around 14:00 on July 8, has injured two fishermen and left another missing while two of the boats sunk in collision with Thai naval vessels.
The fishing boats were chased off by Thai naval police after they were allegedly found illegal operating in Thailand’s waters earlier on the same day, said Nguyễn Hải Ngọc, first secretary of the Vietnamese Embassy.
The two wounded, Nguyễn Văn Tèo, 28, who was shot in the right leg, and Nguyễn Văn Linh, 25, injured in the shoulder, were brought to the shore by Thailand’s helicopter while the remaining 15 crew members were carried onshore by Thai naval vessels, Ngọc added.
He noted that the fishermen are currently kept in custody at Naval Zone 2 of Thailand’s Royal Navy in Songkhla province and expected to stand trial today (July 11) for illegally intruding into Thai waters and fishing without permission on the area.
However, the first secretary stressed that shooting at foreign fishing boats violating one country’s territorial sea is against international law and practice.
A group of officials from the Vietnamese Embassy have flown to Songkhla to settle the incident.
It was the second time Thai naval vessels shot at Vietnamese fishing boats causing casualties.
In September 2015, they opened fire on Vietnamese boats, killing a fisherman. The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent a diplomatic note to oppose the shooting and urge Thailand to probe it. The Thai side has not yet produced any official response since then.—VNS