- Associated Press
Tuesday, August 18, 2020

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) - Vietnam has asked Malaysia to investigate a coast guard vessel that fired shots at two Vietnamese fishing boats, killing one fisherman.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency said the two Vietnamese boats entered Malaysian waters late Sunday and refused to stop when approached by the Malaysian coast guard vessel.

When the Malaysian vessel fired warning shots, the Vietnamese fishermen threw gasoline bombs and tried to ram it with their boats, leaving officials no choice but to fire at the boats in self-defense, it said in a statement Monday on Facebook. One Vietnamese fisherman died and 18 others were detained, it said.

Vietnam’s foreign ministry expressed concern to the Malaysian Embassy in Hanoi over the shooting.

Vietnam asks Malaysian to verify and investigate the case, reprimand officers who killed the Vietnamese citizen and treat other Vietnamese fishermen and their properties in a humane way,” foreign ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang said in a statement late Monday.

Malaysia’s foreign ministry couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The maritime agency said the Vietnamese fisherman had no valid identity documents. They will be investigated for illegal entry and illicit fishing, as well as attempted murder, it said.

The agency said it has detained 43 foreign fishing boats since June 24 for intruding into Malaysian waters and detained 487 Vietnamese crew members.

Malaysia and Vietnam both claim parts of the South China Sea, a vital shipping lane rich with resources that is also claimed in part by Brunei, the Philippines, Taiwan and China.

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