Vietnamese arrested for illegal fishing in Malaysia to stand trial Friday

By Khanh Lynh   July 4, 2019 | 07:24 am PT
Vietnamese arrested for illegal fishing in Malaysia to stand trial Friday
A Vietnamese fishing boat sails next to a Vietnam Coast Guard ship. Photo by AFP/Le Quang Nhat.
21 fishermen from southern Vietnam who were arrested in Malaysian waters on June 21 will be put on trial in Malaysia on Friday.

Vietnamese Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang said on Thursday that the Vietnamese embassy will closely work with Vietnamese and Malaysian agencies to protect their legitimate rights and interests.

Besides the fishermen from Kien Giang Province, Malaysian authorities are holding 20 other Vietnamese fishing boats and their crew for tresspassing its waters. They were detained in early May.

Vietnam has asked Malaysia to provide the list of the fishermen so that it can take due steps to assist them, Hang said.

The Vietnamese embassy will cooperate with the authorities in Vietnam to complete the procedures to bring the fishermen back home when they are deported, she said.

Despite its 3,260 km (2,025 miles) coastline, Vietnam is running out of near-shore seafood resources, and some fishermen who have sailed into other countries’ waters also said they face threats from Chinese trawlers that are illegally anchored in Vietnamese waters.

Malaysian news reports said their authorities detained 25 Vietnamese vessels and 123 crew members for allegedly fishing illegally in their country’s waters in a major crackdown between May 2-16.

Incidents of Vietnamese fishing vessels caught trepassing foreign waters prompted the European Commission (EC) to apply a "yellow card" warning on seafood from Vietnam in October 2017, making all Vietnamese fisheries exports subject to intense scrutiny.

Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung recently ordered all major forces from agriculture to finance, police and national defense to take strict measures to prevent Vietnamese from illegally fishing in waters outside their territory to avoid an extension of the EC barrier.

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