SIBU: The authorities have nabbed nine Vietnamese fishermen who used fake registration numbers for their fishing vessels to fish in Malaysian waters off Bintulu on Wednesday (July 22).
The suspects are aged between 29 to 46 and were caught about 45 nautical miles northwest of Tanjung Kidurong by the Malaysian Maritime Department, Bintulu.
Bintulu Maritime Department acting director Commander Effendy Mohamed Fadil said they had also seized two fishing vessels worth around RM1.2mil and fishing equipment.
Effendy added that the suspects tried to fool the authorities by using falsified registration numbers for their vessels.
"Their tactic of using fake registration numbers to avoid detection by the authorities failed when a routine patrol check by our enforcement team noticed abnormalities," he said.
An inspection of the first boat found that five people including the skipper were on board the boat. Meanwhile four people including the skipper were in the second boat.
"They were suspected of stealing fish from state waters. All of them did not have identification documents with them," he said.
All those detained were later escorted to the Detention Center Jetty Vessel in Sungai Kemena, Bintulu to undergo a Covid-19 screening test as a precaution
The case will be investigated under Section 16 (3) of the Fisheries Act 1985 for failing to report to the department for entering into state waters and under Section 14 (3)(b) of the same Act for using fake registration numbers for the boats.
Effendy said that Maritime Malaysia always welcomes information from the public, and said that any criminal activity or any emergency can be reported directly through MERS 999 hotline or by calling the Bintulu Maritime Zone at 086-314 254.
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