The bodies of two more people were found after a boat carrying Chinese nationals capsised, while eight remain missing.

Cambodian authorities rescued 21 people on Friday.
Cambodian authorities rescued 21 people on Friday. (Preah Sihanouk province Authority Police / AP)

The death toll from a capsised boat off Cambodia's coast has risen to three Chinese nationals, with a further nine rescued in Vietnamese waters.

Kheang Phearom, the spokesman for Cambodia's Preah Sihanouk provincial administration, said rescue teams recovered two more bodies on Saturday, bringing the earlier death toll of one to three.

Eight people remain missing, he added.

Cambodian authorities had rescued 21 people on Friday.

Meanwhile, a Vietnamese border guard on duty at the An Thoi station in Kien Giang province said a fishing vessel had rescued nine Chinese nationals in Vietnamese waters near Phu Quoc island on Friday.

The boat with 41 Chinese people on board began to sink after breaking down off Sihanoukville on Thursday.

Human-smuggling and trafficking

The formerly sleepy fishing village of Sihanoukville in Cambodia in recent years has been transformed into a casino hub following a Chinese investment boom.

There have been multiple recent reports of Chinese workers being duped into working in casinos or online scam operations in Sihanoukville and prevented from leaving.

Cambodian authorities have been trying to crack down on human-smuggling and trafficking networks following widespread reports of people from other Southeast Asian countries being tricked into migrating for job opportunities billed as lucrative.

The group had left China by speedboat on September 11, and a week later were transferred to a wooden boat with two Cambodian crew members in international waters, according to Cambodian authorities.

That vessel capsised after breaking down on Thursday. Two Cambodians were rescued by another vessel but the others were abandoned.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Beijing was in close contact with Cambodian officials about the incident.

READ MORE: One dead, many missing as boat capsizes off coast of Cambodia

Source: AFP