Thailand asked to probe fatal shooting on Vietnamese fishing boats

By Truong Son - Dinh Tuyen, Thanh Nien News

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Vietnam Foreign Ministry Spokesman Le Hai Binh. Photo: Ngoc Thang
Vietnam on Thursday demanded Thailand to promptly investigate and handle Thai individuals involving in the fatal shooting of a Vietnamese fisherman at sea last week.
Foreign ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh said the ministry has sent a diplomatic note to the Thai embassy in Hanoi to express "deep concern" over the shooting, Binh said a news conference in Hanoi.
According to Vietnamese authorities, several Vietnamese boats were fishing illegally in Thailand's sea on September 11 when a Thai speedboat gave chase and shot at them.
Ngo Van Sinh, the 38 year old captain of one of the boats, was shot in the head and died immediately. Two other fishermen were injured. 
According to the Vietnamese embassy in Bangkok, the Thai Foreign Ministry said Thailand is verifying the incident and will report investigation outcomes as soon as possible, Binh said.
“In any circumstances, Vietnam strongly condemns inhuman treatments, the use or threat to use force on Vietnamese fishermen," he said.
Vietnam has asked that Thai authorities investigate the case, as well as properly compensate for human and property losses of Vietnamese fishermen, he said.
Thailand was also requested to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future, Binh said.
Vietnam’s relevant agencies have been closely coordinating to enhance management and supervision over its fishermen’s fishing activities to prevent violations of neighboring countries’ seas, he added.
Hostile attack
Thai marine police have said they opened fire on a Vietnamese fishing boat while trying to intercept another vessel in waters near Malaysia last week, Reuters reported Thursday.
The Thai police admitted shooting a Vietnamese fishing boat but said it was encroaching and police acted on “self-defense.” The Vietnamese fishermen, however, recounted a "hostile attack" that killed one of them and injured two.
 A Vietnamese fisherman points to a bullet hole left in his cabin window. The shooting by a Thai speedboat on some Vietnamese fishing boats on September 11, 2015 left one dead and two injured. Photo: Dinh Tuyen
According to them, a Thai armed speedboat fired at six of their boats in the waters bordering Malaysia and Thailand on September 11.
A Reuters report on Wednesday quoted Thai marine police as saying they opened fire on a Vietnamese fishing boat while trying to intercept another vessel in waters near Malaysia.
The report quoted Major General Grittapol Yeesakhorn, Thai maritime police chief, as saying that he was unaware of casualties.
He claimed that Thai police were only protecting themselves when surrounded by "hostile Vietnamese vessels," according to the report.
“We had no intention of killing anyone. We fired only warning shots, from 100 meters away. We only shot at the front of the boat,” he told Reuters.
Some bullets allegedly shot by Thai police at Vietnamese fishing boats in the attack. Photo: Dinh Tuyen
But Vietnamese fishermen said the Thai boat was chasing them first. They showed many bullet holes in the walls and windows of their boats' cabins.
Chao Van Sang, a member of a crew whose captain was shot dead, told Thanh Nien the Thai boat was shooting its machine gun just 20 meters away from his boat and only stopped after the captain, Ngo Van Sinh, fell down.
A source from border guards of the southern coastal Kien Giang Province told Nhan Dan newspaper that the Vietnamese vessels fled as a Thai police boat approached, blaring through a radio: “Vietnam vessel stop, if not we will shoot you to death.”

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