Vietnamese fishermen said they have seen many fishing boat flying the Chinese flag in Vietnamese waters near Hoang Sa Islands.
Local fishermen Nguyen Ly and Le Hon said they had noticed many boats flying the Chinese flag on the way between Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands and Ly Son on May 5, local newswire Vnexpress said Sunday.
Captain Tran Van Tho said he saw five Chinese fishing boats near Ly Son on May 11 and one on the next day.
Foreign boats have been fishing illegally in Vietnam waters for many years, Chu Tien Vinh, deputy head of Seafood General Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, told Vnexpress.
"One time Chinese boats came very near to islands around Quang Ngai to fish illegally. There were so many of them that we could only chase them away," Vinh said.
Quang Ngai border guards have started to cooperate with their counterparts in nearby Thua Thien-Hue and Quang Nam Provinces, and the Navy to capture or chase away boats invading Vietnam waters.
According to some fishermen, Chinese boats were trying to fish as much as they could before China implemented the ban over fishing around the East Sea from Sunday to August 1.
Vietnam's Foreign Ministry has opposed the ban, saying it violated Vietnam's sovereignty and decision over the waters.
Since early April, China has sent patrols to the waters near Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands, which Vietnam claimed sovereignty with historical proofs. Chinese patrols have many times caught Vietnamese fishermen around Hoang Sa Islands as well, taking their boats and asking for ransom.