Fishermen accuse Chinese of stealing squid

Hanoi: Vietnam’s fishing trade association has accused a Chinese vessel of robbing Vietnamese fishermen near disputed islands in the South China Sea, state media here reported.

According to the complaint from the Vietnam Fisheries Society, a boat from Vietnam’s Quang Nam province with 10 crew members was accosted by a Chinese-flagged vessel 22 nautical miles from Triton Island in the Paracel archipelago on June 2.

After shouting death threats at the Vietnamese sailors, a group of men from the Chinese vessel allegedly forced their way on board and stole two tonnes of squid worth more than US$10,000 (RM41,600).

In a letter to the Vietnamese government, the Vietnam Fisheries Society described the actions as an attack on Vietnamese sovereignty.

Vietnam has in recent years accused Chinese vessels of attacking Vietnamese fishing boats, with a few incidents corroborated by dramatic videos posted online.

In March, Hanoi demanded that China accept responsibility for an alleged attack on a fishing boat that ended in the vessel’s sinking.

China claims almost all of the South China Sea, including waters recognised under international conventions as Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone, where Vietnam has sole fishing rights. — dpa