Twelve fishermen who were abducted by a Chinese patrol ship off the Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago on May 4 have been released after paying a ransom of VND200 million (US$10,531), Vietnamnet reported.
Dang Tam, the captain and also the owner of the detained fishing boat, said they were released on their boat on Thursday but didn't arrive home in the central province of Quang Ngai until the next day.
All devices, food, oil and seafood on his boat had been pillaged by the Chinese, Tam told the news website, adding that the properties were worth over VND150 million in total.
According to Tam, they were kidnapped by a Chinese patrol ship while fishing in Vietnamese waters and then imprisoned on the archipelago's Phu Lam Island, where he was ordered to call home and ask his family to pay the ransom.
The money was paid via transfer to a Chinese bank whose name Tam didn't remember because it was in foreign language, Vietnamnet quoted Tam as saying.
China last month 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.