Vietnamese fishermen in custody after being caught fishing in Thai waters

March 30, 2016 | 03:35 am PT
Vietnam’s Embassy in Thailand is working with local authorities to ensure Vietnamese fishermen who were caught fishing illegally last week will be treated according to local and international laws.

On March 25, the Thai navy seized seven Vietnamese boats and 38 fishermen operating near Koh Kra Island, around 55 kilometers off the coast of the southern Thai province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, local media reports.

They were accused of infringing Thai waters and were taken into custody near Songkhla Naval Base.

Vietnam's ambassador to Thailand, Nguyen Tat Thanh, has verified the information, according to Vietnam News. He added that the fishermen were from southern provinces, including Kien Giang, Tien Giang and Ca Mau.

The embassy has set up a hotline to communicate with the prison in Songkhla and the fishermen. All the detained men are under the legal protection of the embassy.

“The Embassy wants to ensure that all the arrested Vietnamese fishermen are treated well, and in line with international practice, international law and the laws of Thailand,” Thanh said.

According to the Thai authorities, the fishermen could face trial soon and the verdict would be announced in due course.

Ambassador Thanh urged Vietnamese fishermen to be careful and avoid straying into Thailand and other countries’ waters, as this violated international rules and carried a high risk of arrest.

In November last year, 14 Vietnamese fishermen from the southern province of Ca Mau were bailed out by their families after nearly two months behind bars in Songkhla for fishing in Thai waters.

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