Malaysia detains 20 Vietnamese fishermen for intrusion

By Malaysian Bernama   June 12, 2016 | 11:17 am GMT+7

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) seized two boats and detained 20 Vietnamese fishermen who were busy performing tow coupling activities at the borders of Malaysia's Terengganu and Pahang waters Friday.

Pahang MMEA director Capt Khoo Teng Chuan said the two boats were detained about 67 nautical miles from Tanjung Tembeling, Pahang at 2.30 p.m.

"When we were conducting Op Perkasa and Op Marikh in the waters off Pahang, we detected these two boats in a suspicious manner and found that they were busy carrying out tow coupling activities.

"But, when they noticed our presence, the foreign fishermen tried to flee, however, we managed to arrest them after a five-nautical-mile chase," he told a press conference, here Saturday.

Vietnamese and Malaysian boats destroyed by Indonesia in April. Photo by Reuters

Vietnamese and Malaysian boats destroyed by Indonesia in April. Photo by Reuters

Further investigations revealed that only one of them had valid identification documents while the rest did not have any document nor a valid permit to fish in the waters of this country.

He added they also seized various fishing equipment, boats and catch estimated to be worth Ringgit 1 million ($244,678).

He said, the fishermen, aged between 18 and 45, were taken to the Kuantan MMEA lockup for further investigation while the two boats were towed to the Kemaman MMEA jetty.

The case was being investigated under the Fisheries Act 1985, if convicted, the boats could be confiscated, the skipper could be fined RM1mil while the crew members could be fined up to Ringgit 500,000 each, he said.

In the meantime, he also urged members of the public, especially local fishermen to provide information if they spotted encroachment activities to call the Maritime Eastern Region Operations Centre at 09-5717345.

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