Fisherman shot by Indonesian navy at sea: China

A Chinese vessel has been intercepted by the Indonesian Navy for fishing illegally in Indonesia's waters off the Natuna islands in the South China Sea.
A Chinese vessel has been intercepted by the Indonesian Navy for fishing illegally in Indonesia's waters off the Natuna islands in the South China Sea. PHOTO: REUTERS

A Chinese fisherman was shot and injured as his vessel was being intercepted by the Indonesian navy, said China's Foreign Ministry, in the third reported confrontation between the countries in the South China Sea since March.

This comes after Indonesia earlier yesterday said it fired warning shots at Chinese fishermen who were fishing illegally near the Natuna Islands, but did not mention any injuries.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said the boat was in "traditional fishing grounds" when it was "harassed and attacked" by Indonesian warships on Friday.

She added in her statement yesterday that China dispatched its coast guard to protect the ship and rescue the injured man, who was taken to southern Hainan province for treatment and is in stable condition.

China has registered its "strong protest" to Indonesia, which detained seven other Chinese fishermen and a fishing boat.

"China urges Indonesia not to take further action that complicates, escalates or affects peace and stability, and to adopt a constructive approach to maritime fishery issues," said Ms Hua.

The incident comes amid heightened tensions in the South China Sea over rival territorial claims. Indonesia is not involved in these claims but objects to China's inclusion of parts of the Natuna Islands within a "nine-dash line" that Beijing marks on maps to show its claim. China does not dispute Indonesia's sovereignty over the Natuna Islands.

Colonel Arif Badruddin, commander of Ranai Naval Base in Riau Islands province, told The Straits Times yesterday that the navy's warships spotted the China- flagged Yueyandong Yu 19038 fishing boat in Indonesia's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) on Friday.

He said the navy detected radio chatter among 12 Chinese vessels in Indonesia's EEZ and sent warships to the area. The Chinese boats scattered and tried to evade capture, and warning shots were fired.

"Our warning shots were ignored so, as per standard procedure, we shot towards the bow (of the Yueyandong Yu) to stop the ships," he added. The navy managed to detain only the Yueyandong Yu.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2016, with the headline 'Fisherman shot by Indonesian navy at sea: China'. Print Edition | Subscribe