BINTULU: Seven foreigners were each sentenced to 25 months in jail after they pleaded guilty to intruding, stealing and damaging some items and equipment at an unmanned platform on May 19.
Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Bintulu Zone director Captain Maritime Mohd Khairol Anuar Saad in a statement, said all the accused pleaded guilty during the prosecution at the Magistrate’s Court and Session’s Court here last Tuesday (June 21).
“All seven men have been charged with three counts, comprising two counts under the Penal Code and one count under the Fisheries Act 1985. The charges were made in the Magistrate’s Court and Session’s Court on the same day (June 21).
“During the prosecution, all the accused pleaded guilty to all three charges and were sentenced to 16 months’ jail for offences under the Penal Code while, nine months’ imprisonment under the Fisheries Act 1985.
“In addition, the foreign fishing boat used in the offence, was forfeited to the government,” the MMEA local chief said.
The agency takes such criminal and aggression activities seriously as it may have the potential to impact the country’s revenue, he stressed.
Mohd Khairol hoped that this penalty will serve as a warning to individuals or groups from within the country and abroad, that MMEA will not compromise on any offences that could affect the country’s sovereignty and prosperity, especially in national waters.
MMEA together with other maritime security agencies will continue to improve security control and law enforcement operations in the country’s waters to ensure the safety of local ships, boats and platform areas are safe from any threat.
Last month, MMEA Sarawak director First Admiral Maritime Zin Azman Md Yunus told the media that a foreign fishing boat managed by seven crew was intercepted following a two-hour chase on May 19.
Seven crew including its skipper aged between 22 and 40, were arrested at 12.05pm for allegedly intruding and stealing several oil rigs and equipment at an unmanned platform.
Zin Azman added that all of them did not have any valid identification documents when inspected by enforcement officers.
The criminal activity came to light after the agency received a complaint from the oil and gas industry operator regarding intrusion of suspected foreign fishing vessel at an unmanned platform, about 130 nautical miles off Tanjung Kidurong.