Vietnam fisheries association calls on gov't to help fishermen illegally detained by China

TN News

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The Vietnam Fisheries Association Friday asked the foreign ministry and other agencies to help five fishermen who were arrested by China while fishing off the central coast early this month.

A Tuoi Tre report on Saturday also said that border guards in the northern province of Quang Binh, where the fishermen hailed from, asked the provincial authorites to act to bring them home.

It quoted Nguyen Ngoc Hieu, chairman of Bao Ninh Commune, as saying that the boat, owned by Nguyen Van Thanh, was captured on August when they were fishing at 17o54'N 109o20'E, some 110 sea miles from Chan May port in the central province of Thua Thien Hue.

On Friday, the Saigon Tiep Thi reported that Nguyen Thi Hang, Thanh's wife, received a phone call from China asking for US$6,250 in ransom. The phone call was made through an interpreter.

In its letter to the foreign ministry, the agriculture ministry and the government's office, the association said China's act was "unreasonable, violated  international treaties and the code of conduct in the East Sea."

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It suggested related agencies should intervene via diplomatic means so China will "stop similar wrongful acts, release people and return the livelihood-earning equipment to Vietnamese fishermen, and compensate for damages caused."

It also said the agencies should support the fisherman and their families so they can continue offshore fishing, maintaining and protecting the soverignty of the country's seas and islands, the Tuoi Tre report said.

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