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China Urges Vietnam to Join Fighting Against Maritime Crimes

China hopes to make joint efforts with Vietnam to fight against maritime crimes and ensure a stable and harmonious environment for the two countries' fishermen, according to the Foreign Ministry on Sunday.


Chinese maritime police shot dead eight armed robbers and captured eight others who robbed Chinese fishing boats operating on Jan. 8 at the Chinese side of the Beibu Gulf, according to the Foreign Ministry.


According to Chinese border police, on the morning of Jan. 8, six Chinese fishing boats from south China's Hainan Province were operating on the Chinese side of the Beibu Gulf, and three unidentified armed vessels came and robbed them 310 fishing nets and fish products worth more than 3 million yuan (US$361,445) and the robbers fired at the Chinese boats when they tried to chase after them.


Chinese maritime police rushed to the spot for rescue immediately after receiving report from the Chinese fishermen. The three armed vessels first opened fire at the police boats and hurled antitank grenades and dynamite to them. Chinese maritime police were forced to fight back after they had stated their identity and shot to the sky as warning.


Chinese maritime police intercepted one of the three armed robber boats in Chinese sea area, while the other two boats entered Vietnamese sea area.


During the fighting, eight robbers were killed and eight were seized. One Chinese maritime policeman was injured, one police boat suffered three gunshots and one Chinese fishing boat suffered eight gunshots.


Chinese maritime police also seized one submachine gun, one gun sheath, and 88 bullets, and the rest weapons and ammunition were seen thrown into sea before Chinese maritime police got aboard.


After the incident, the Chinese side has informed the Vietnamese side of the issue in detail in accordance with the Sino-Vietnamese consulate treaty and organized relative visits of the Vietnamese consulates.


Since the agreements on demarcation and fishery cooperation in the Beibu Gulf between China and Vietnam took effect last June, the overall situation there is stable, however, many Chinese fishing boats have been robbed in the joint fishing area, as has posed serious threat to the life and property safety of Chinese fishermen.


(Xinhua News Agency January 23, 2005)

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