Vietnamese fishermen in Indonesia pray for help: “Help us reunite with our wives and children!”

Mr. Ho Van Hieu, 63 years old, an old fisherman in Kien Giang province in the video sent to Radio Free Asia.

Mr. Hieu and nearly 200 other crew members are being held at Tanjung Pinang camp in the Riau archipelago in eastern Indonesia, some for several months and some who have not returned to their motherland for 2-3 years, although the place to keep them is only maximum 2 days of the boat running far from home.

Mr. Hieu and the Vietnamese fishermen here were arrested by the Indonesian side for allegedly poaching in Indonesian waters.

Under Indonesian law, only ship pilots will be tried, imprisoned and expelled later, while crew members like him do not have to go to court but only wait for the date of return, but the video provided for Radio Free Asia, the Vietnamese Embassy does not seem to care about their existence.

Eat stale rice, raw rice every day

My life is too harsh. Rice meals are stale, sometimes we have to eat not-well-cooked rice. If we go down to the canteen, we have to pay,” added Mr. Hieu:” Now we ask the Vietnamese government to help us return to the country to reunite with our families. I hope all levels and newsrooms will give our opinions to help us reunite with our wives and children.”

Mr. Vo Van Hoang, a man with 10 years of experience seafaring is also being held in the same camp, confirming that the information is true, but he is afraid of going to the Indonesian authorities’ ears because “I am in their hand.”

I was held at Batam camp for three months and then brought here. This camp in general is also normal, not so hard.

Vietnamese fishermen were forced to stay in Indonesia

Rice was given also three times a day, the rice is just enough to eat, but the food is not there!

We have to get money from Vietnam and then we go to the canteen to buy more noodles, cakes, milk, because the food Indonesia provided for us to eat, generally, is not enough.

In general, he also offered to eat stale rice, but also because he spoke without thinking and avoiding a bit.

Because he was still here, but he said so, he was also a bit tired of it. Sometimes when opening the bento box food is sour and we wouldn’t dare eat it.”

Vietnamese fishermen in Tanjung Pinang, Indonesia eat rice

Mr. Hoang also filmed a short video showing the lunch on December 10 in a round plastic container with 3 compartments of white rice, a few soup and a piece of fried egg.

Meanwhile, Didik Agus from Indonesia’s Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Affairs told Benar News (RFA news agency) said that only this year, 225 Vietnamese fishermen were arrested for “illegal fishing in the Fisheries Management Region of the Republic of Indonesia.”

He affirmed, “all crew members are in good health and are being treated appropriately according to the current regulations.”

Money made from a few years ago, this year has passed.”

Mr. Hoang worked as a fisherman for the past few years to save some money, but all “went away” in about a year he was arrested in Indonesia. The wife works as an online shopkeeper, but she also lost money because of the COVID-19 pandemics.

I have two children, the oldest is in 7th grade, and the child is in kindergarten. I also have old parents too.

My wife, who has young children, has to take him to school, so she can’t do anything. Work in Vietnam was also delayed, so no one could do anything about it. Generally speaking, the money we made a few years ago has been spent this year!

Poor fellow crewmembers, generally all of us here are the main laborers in the family.

Now that these main workers are locked up here, our family has no income, only spending.

There are many families who have to send their children to school but they can not afford the tuition. I have to borrow money to take care of my old father, money for schooling for two children,” Mr. Hoang expressed.

Mr. Hoang also talked about a case of Trung, more than 20 years old this year, was also arrested in April 2020.

Last August, Trung’s father died in the night, and he could not go home to see his father’s face one last time. The fishermen were eager to call the embassy number many times, but no one answered.

Trung’s mother texted us for help, she said she went to the Foreign Affairs Department of Kien Giang province to inquire, but the agency said there was no information about the fishermen arrested in Indonesia.

According to Indonesian authorities, out of 225 Vietnamese fishermen arrested at the beginning of the year, 26 were suspects, while 199 were not suspects.

We called the Department of Foreign Affairs of Kien Giang province to inquire about the detained fishermen, but the person in charge of Citizen Protection confirmed that the news of fishermen arrested in Indonesia was not true.”

This information I also did not hear that anyone responded, so I do not know whether it is legitimate or not.

And the matter of our citizens being held there for 3 years or something is not true!” she confirmed and asked the reporter to send a document to the Department to schedule the work in order.

Mr. Tran Van Phuong, head of the Department of Citizenship Protection – Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam, told reporters to call the embassy in the host country.

Sir, please contact the Vietnamese Embassy in Indonesia!

They will report on the status of citizenship protection, as well as the information on which domestic agencies administer the protection of citizens through the Vietnamese Embassy in Indonesia.”

Meanwhile, after a day of calling the Vietnamese Embassy in Indonesia without people picking up the phone, on December 10, an employee on the hotline said “The embassy is still handling” the case of the fishermen. in Indonesia.

The embassy is still in contact and is still working on it, but there is no way to handle it.

Currently, as you know, due to COVID, there is no flight back home. With the verification procedure, we also have to wait in the country for results, but it is not true that we do nothing. That is not true,” the embassy staff refused to provide any further information, said he had to ask the leaders, and asked reporters not to quote.

Fishing in Truong Sa was hit by China while working near Indonesia’s sea would be caught

Those fishing grounds don’t make any profit now, they don’t have much squid anymore.

The waters like Phu Quy, those waters did not dare to do now, because Chinese ships control the waters, they chase them so they could not do anything.

Last year I also worked to stay in Truong Sa, but the Chinese ships were chasing so we don’t dare to do it anymore!

If I did not dare to do it when I was so close to the waterside, my boat with a large capacity, the fishermen’s side, did not allow it to work, but in the middle, there were not many squid fish.

Because our number of fishing boats is too high, I work to kill the squid and it has to drift and it runs to neighboring waters such as Malaysia, Indonesia.

Like the Malaysian and Indonesian side, it does not exploit seafood like us, they have very few ships “- Anh Hoang explained why many fishing vessels have to go further to the areas bordering Indonesia and Malaysia to fishing.

In April 2019, there was an incident when a Vietnamese fishing boat crashed into an Indonesian navy ship to rescue captured Vietnamese fishermen.

Indonesia sank a fishing vessel of a Vietnamese fisherman accused of poaching in Indonesian waters on May 4, 2019

However, although fishing according to the coordinates instructed by the Coast Guard and Vietnamese authorities, according to him, the fishing vessels were still arrested and escorted back to the Indonesian sea to film and take pictures as evidence.

Here, in general, we have gone for more than 10 years, and have never been arrested by Indonesia.

Tell you to solve our injustice for us, sometimes when we fight in overlapping areas that are still located in the waters of Vietnam, 57 nautical miles away, we still get caught by them.

We didn’t have anything to fight back, when we ran, they take the gun out to shoot.

It shot straight into the captain room, did not dare to run anywhere.

When we surrender, they let their soldiers pass, they took us over their ship, and then they operate our ship.

Running for a few hours until it got to its harbor, it would float away, make a written record to force us to sign it, which way would be against it! “- Hoang said.

Mr. Toan, a fisherman in Kien Giang, has 50 years of experience in the sea. He quit fishing for about a year, admitting to graft to cross the sea of ​​Malaysia and Indonesia, but was still caught by the authorities as usual.

Someone at the station called through, if there were people, we hide, if there was no one, then we would fish.

I paid for my loved one and they contacted the Malaysian Coast Guard, which is 50 million dongs a year,” said Toan.

Citizenship Protection

Information on the website of the Embassy of Vietnam in Jakarta, from the beginning of the year until now, there have been 3 flights to bring citizens home, of which the last flight was on November 29, 2020, with 90 citizens.

VOV’s website on September 23, citing the consular department of the Embassy, ​​said that from the beginning of the year until now, the Vietnam Embassy in Jakarta has worked with domestic agencies and departments in order to verify identity and implement the necessary protective measures and repatriate a total of 108 fishermen out of 283 fishermen.

According to Indonesian authorities, out of 225 Vietnamese fishermen arrested at the beginning of the year, 26 were suspects, while 199 were not suspects.

The Director-General of Marine and Fisheries Resources Surveillance (PSDKP) has handed over 9 crew members to the Prosecutor’s Office and 123 crew members to the Immigration Department.

For 92 crew members currently in the PSDKP harbors on the islands of Batam and Natuna, 4 are still under investigation, 12 have been assigned to the Prosecutor for trial, and 76 having no charge were transferred to the central detention center of the Immigration Bureau.

The fishermen not prosecuted, in accordance with international and national law, were allowed to return home from the beginning. However, the process of returning home is certainly dependent on the fishermen’s country of origin, which will pay for their return,” said Didik Agus, spokesman for the Indonesian Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Affairs.

Mr. Didik Agus said that he had contacted the Vietnamese government through its embassy in Jakarta, however, “The Vietnamese Embassy has conveyed that the COVID-19 epidemic has significantly hindered the repatriation of citizens.”

On December 11, 2020, the fishermen still stuck in Indonesia contacted us again, saying that after the fishermen’s video calling for help was published by Radio Free Asia, the Indonesian side sent some papers to and ask these people to fill it out.

Documents include the Declaration used for Vietnamese fishermen applying for repatriation and the additional Declaration for the issuance of a passport to Vietnam for fishermen in Vietnamese. (Translated)


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