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Officials hurt in Vietnamese boat attack

FIishery administration officials were reportedly slashed with a knife and beaten during a raid on a Vietnamese fishing boat found deep inside Cambodian territory.

According to local newspaper Nokorwat News, the two government officials had to jump in the sea to escape after being attacked during an operation to stop a Vietnamese vessel fishing illegally near Polovai Island in Preah Sihanouk province on Monday.

The officials, it was reported, captured a boat containing seven fishermen. But when they ordered the captain to take it to a port, 47-year-old Cambodian official Som Darapoc was knifed while his colleague, 48-year-old Nuch Puthreary, was beaten with a stick.

The attack forced them to flee for their lives, according to the newspaper, while the boat returned to Vietnamese waters.

Nao Thuok, director of Fishery Administration, confirmed yesterday that the men had been injured after a scuffle between fishery officials and Vietnamese fishermen. One of the officials, he said, was still being treated at Phnom Penh’s Calmette Hospital.  

Nao Thuok was not available to comment further but it was reported that Som Darapoc received five stitches for his knife wounds.

Duong Sam Ath, chief of Fishery Administration at Preah Sihanouk province, denied that the officials came from his province. “Maybe the officials are from other units, but my officials are fine,” he said yesterday.  

An employee at the Vietnamese Consular General in Preah Sihanouk province said “I don’t know, ask my colleague” when asked for comment by reporters yesterday.  

Le Minh Ngoc, spokesman for the Vietnamese embassy in Phnom Penh, said yesterday that he had no information on the incident.

Chum Nith, coordinator of Fisheries Action Coalition Team based in Preah Sihanouk province, said he had no information.

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