KEMAMAN, March 3: Vietnamese fishermen not only threw hard objects at Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) personnel, but also attacked them with machetes, causing one to get injured.
Pahang MMEA director First Admiral Datuk Amran Daud said the incident occurred around 80 nautical miles southeast of Tanjung Gelang, Pahang, at 5.25 am yesterday, when members of the KM Satria patrol vessel were conducting Op Kuda Laut.
“Realising the presence of KM Satria, the two (Vietnamese) boats tried to flee. The KM Satria team then lowered the Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) boat to intercept and conduct an inspection by approaching one of the fishing boats.
“While trying to get into the suspect’s boat, the team was attacked by several crew members armed with machetes and hard objects to prevent their boat from being inspected,“ he said during a press conference at the Kemaman Maritime Zone jetty, today.
He said the fishermen continued to act violently despite several warning shots fired into the air, and the personnel then opened fire on the boat to stop the attack and defend themselves and their assets according to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).
“However, bullet fragments hit and injured two crew members as well as a skipper (tekong) in the thighs, arms and face. All those injured were taken to the Kuantan Marine Police Force (PPM) jetty before receiving treatment at the Tengku Ampuan Afzan hospital, Kuantan, Pahang,” he said.
Amran said the MMEA took almost three hours to detain the 19 crew members including the skipper, all aged between 16 and 60 and they were brought to the Kemaman Maritime Base in Terengganu at about noon today.
Also seized were the boats and catch worth RM1.5 million. The case is being investigated under Section 15 (1) (a) of the Fisheries Act 1985 which carries a fine of up to RM6 million on the skipper and RM600,000 on the crew for not having a permit to operate in Malaysian waters.
While the Immigration Act 1959/1963, Section 6 (1) (c) provides for a fine of RM10,000 or imprisonment for five years, or both, and not more than six strokes of the cane for not having valid identification documents.
“MMEA will also investigate and prosecute the crew under Section 307 of the Penal Code for attempted murder and Section 186 of the Penal Code for obstructing the duties of civil servants,“ he said.
According to Amran, 795 crew have been arrested under Op Kuda Laut since June to prevent foreign fishermen from encroaching into Malaysian waters.- Bernama