HANOI : Seven people were killed in a gun battle between border guards and Chinese illegal migrants at a remote frontier crossing in northeast Vietnam, authorities said Friday. Sixteen Chinese nationals - 10 men, four women and two children - were detained early Friday after attempting to enter Vietnam, the Quang Ninh provincial government said in a statement. While authorities were preparing to send them back, “some Chinese men in this group seized guns from Vietnamese border guards and shot at them... killing one guard on the spot,” the statement said.

Vietnamese and Chinese authorities sought to calm the situation but the migrants refused to drop their weapons and a firefight erupted, it added.

In total two Vietnamese border guards and five Chinese migrants were killed, according to the statement, which said the incident was “not a terrorist attack”. It was not immediately possible to verify the authorities’ account.