Twelve fishermen from central Vietnam are being held for ransom by a Chinese patrol ship after they were captured while fishing in waters off the Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago, Vietnamnet reported Thursday.
The fishing boat was captured at around 5 a.m. on Tuesday, Nguyen Phuong Nam, who was on guard duty at Ganh Ca Village,Quang Ngai Province, quoted captain Dang Tam as saying.
Tam, 35, also the boat owner, had called the guard post to inform them of the illegal capture. The Chinese boat was also demanding 70,000 yuan (US$10,250) in ransom, according to the news source.
The crew have been imprisoned on Phu Lam Island of the archipelago, it reported, adding that the latest capture has been reported to related agencies.
China last week released 23 fishermen who were also captured on two boats around the Hoang Sa archipelago over the past two months. Property worth nearly VND500 million (US$26,371) was confiscated.
The boats were also asked to pay a ransom of 70,000 yuan each, but then were freed after Vietnamese agencies stepped in, Vietnamnet reported, noting that the fishermen were beaten and starved during their capture.
In related news, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga on Thursday said Vietnam opposed China's recent ban on fishing in certain waters of the East Sea, including those under Vietnam's sovereignty.
Nga said the ban, which was issued on April 29 and would take effect from May 16 to August 1, violates Vietnam's sovereignty over the Hoang Sa Archipelago, and of other areas under its jurisdiction.