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Five busted over illegal fishing gear in standoff

Five busted over illegal fishing gear in standoff

Five Vietnamese nationals who were found to be using illegal electric fishing devices were arrested yesterday on the Tonle Sap lake, on the border of Siem Reap and Battambang provinces, with authorities also seizing three boats.

Fisheries Administration boats yesterday came across about 30 boats using the devices, which kill mass numbers of fish, and endanger local fisheries, said Prin Savin, Siem Reap’s provincial fisheries administrative director. Some of the boats began ramming the Fisheries Administration boats, but stopped and scattered when armed authorities arrived in the area.

“The illegal fishermen daring to attack authorities have rich and powerful people behind them, and are largely Vietnamese,” said Nou Sarim, coordinator of Battambang’s Fisheries Alliance Coalition.

Battambang provincial Fishery Administration head Choung Sothea said that sometimes fisheries officials, lacking manpower and weapons, are only able to observe illegal activity, and report to armed authorities. Police questioned the five men arrested yesterday in an effort to locate the rest of the party.

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