KOTA KINABALU: Two Malaysians and a China national have been arrested by Indonesian authorities on suspicion of spying.
The three were scouting for possible locations to build a bridge linking Tawau to Sebatik Island, partly within both Indonesia and Malaysia
All three men were arrested along with three Indonesians after they were found in possession of sensitive naval base photos at the shared island, according to Indonesian media reports.
According to a statement issued on Saturday (July 22) by Nunukan Immigration officer Saut Dompak, the six men had claimed to be looking into the possibility of building a bridge from Sebatik to Tawau.
According to the news reports, one of the Malaysians is an engineer while the China national apparently entered Nunukan in northern Kalimantan on a tourist and border crossing visa on July 20.
One of the Indonesians arrested reportedly had two sets of identification documents, an Indonesian passport and a Malaysian identity card.
Saut said the assistance of the Malaysian consul general's office in Pontianak City (Kalimanatan) had been sought to verify the authenticity of the Malaysian IC.
Initial investigations indicated that the Indonesian with two sets of papers had invited the China national and Malaysians to look at the possibility of building a bridge from Tawau to Sebatik on July 20.
However, Indonesian navy officers found photographs of sensitive areas of their border post and marine headquarters in Sebatik.
The officers then handed the men over to Immigration officers in Nunukan for further investigations on July 21.
Saud said the suspects claimed that they were only searching for the closest location for the bridge to be built from Tawau to Sebatik's Malaysian side.
The Malaysians and China national are being held for 30 days at the Immigration Detention Centre in Nunukan and would face charges for violating their tourist visa permit under Indonesian Immigration Law as they should have entered with a business visa for their stated purpose.