While the Foreign Ministry asked for Thailand and Cambodia’s assistance to search for ten missing fishermen in the southern province of Ca Mau, the ship owner, Ho Van Tuan, received phone calls from an unknown woman asking for ransom.
Doubting that this is swindling, Phong instructed the local border guard forces to warn the ship owners and the families of missing fishermen of the possible trick and told them to not send money to Thailand.
Phong said that rescue is a humanitarian task so it is impossible that an official of Thailand called to ask for ransom, especially when Vietnamese fishermen did not enter Thailand’s territorial waters.
“When Thai diplomatic agencies officially inform us about missing fishermen and ask us to buy air tickets for them to return home, Vietnamese relevant agencies will combine with the families of fishermen to bring them home,” Colonel Phong confirmed.
Five days ago, the CM99219 boat’s captain, Nguyen Van Hieu, reported that he was rescued by a fishing boat from Kien Giang Province after his 11-member boat sank due to a collision with a foreign boat numbered 542 on January 2.
After the collision, the foreign boat used lifebuoys to save the victims but Hieu did not know how many people had been rescued.
The boat then went towards an area between the seas of Thailand and Cambodia, Hieu, who returned to Ca Mau on January 4, said.
After being inform of the incident, the ship owner Ho Van Tuan, 43, said that a woman had phoned his wife and told her in Vietnamese that seven missing fishermen were rescued, and asked their relatives to prepare money as ransom.
On January 8, this woman called Tuan, asking Tuan and relatives of missing fishermen to send money to Thailand early.
“She told my wife that they rescued seven fishermen but she told me that all ten fishermen were rescued,” Tuan said.
The relatives of at least three missing fishermen also received calls from this woman in the past two days. When relatives asked to talk to fishermen, the woman did not agree, saying that fishermen were in jail.
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