|The area on Bãi Trường Beach, Phú Quốc City, where the bodies were found. — Photo from the police|
KIÊN GIANG — Seven bodies found washed ashore on Thursday on a beach in Phú Quốc Island may have possible links to an earlier sinking of a boat carrying 40 people in Cambodian waters last week.
Local police said the bodies' current state of decomposition makes it very difficult to identify them, but Chinese identity cards were found in the wallets of two of the victims.
Lê Văn Mót, head of the Phú Quốc City’s police, said officers are deployed to Bãi Trường Beach on Friday morning to secure the site and watch out for additional possible victims, but so far no more bodies have turned up.
Further investigations are being carried out in an attempt to identify the seven.
Lâm Minh Thành, Chairman of Kiên Giang Province People's Committee, said given the potential links to foreigners, the foreign department of Kiên Giang will be working with the Chinese Consular in HCM City.
Thành said local authorities are also calling on households on the island to immediately report anyone missing.
Cambodia’s authorities on Friday voiced their suspicion that the bodies may have been connected to the sinking incident involving a fishing vessel in waters off the coastal city Sihanoukville on September 22.
Earlier, on September 24, two days after said incident, a Phú Quốc fisherman saved nine Chinese citizens who were drifting at sea.
According to the survivors, they were on a fishing expedition but the boat they were on began to sink on the way to Cambodia, with about 20 people on board. However, a Chinese national saved by Cambodian authorities said the boat were carrying up to 41 people.
Khieu Sopheak, a spokesman at Cambodia's Interior Ministry, said that authorities had launched a human trafficking case after the sinking and that six people had been arrested, quoted Reuters. — VNS