MACC detains eight in illegal trawler fishing syndicate

PUTRAJAYA (Oct 1, 2013): The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has detained eight men to facilitate investigations on a syndicate which had bribed its way into illegal trawler fishing in Malaysian waters.

MACC (Operations) deputy chief commissioner Datuk Mohd Shukri Abdull said the illegal activity has been on its radar since it was reported last year.

"There were two arrests each in Kuala Lumpur, Kota Tinggi, Johor, Kuantan, Pahang and Kota Bahru, Kelantan. They were all men between 35 and 60 years old and have been remanded from four to six days," he said in a statement here today.

The case was being investigated under Section 16(b)(B) of the MACC Act 2000 for receiving bribes, he said.

The statement said the two main offences identified involved the payment of bribes to release detained boats and receiving bribes from foreign fishermen as inducement to refrain from taking action against them.

Mohd Shukri attributed the arrests to MACC's close collaboration with the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and expressed his appreciation to the agency for the successful detection of a series of transactions.

He added that the syndicate's activity was also believed to include the bribing of enforcement officers and was masterminded by three main gangs with local and foreign (Vietnam) members.

"So far RM1.2 million in cash meant for bribes has been seized and four fishing boats estimated at RM5 million belonging to Vietnamese have been confiscated," he said.

He stressed that the illegal use of trawler boats was a grave matter which not only threatened the ecosystem but jeopardised the income of fishermen and national security. – Bernama