MIRI: Four men from Rumah Adang of Ulu Sungai Ridan in Poyut-Lubok Nibong, Marudi, who were arrested after they strayed into Brunei during a hunting trip on April 16, have been released and are currently quarantined at Eastwood Valley Golf and Country Club.
The story of the release of Lapo Umpai, Hardy Buun, Robert Pangin Kilong and Peter Lapo was shared by Mulu assemblyman Dato Gerawat Gala on his Facebook page yesterday Sunday.
“Freedom for four hunters from Rumah Adang, Ulu Sungai Ridan, Poyut-Lubok Nibong, Marudi on May 9,” Gerawat wrote.
They arrived here safely yesterday evening with assistance from the Malaysian embassy in Brunei.
After their arrest in Brunei, they were quarantined for 14 days until last April 30 and thereafter remanded in police custody in Bandar Seri Begawan pending further police investigation.
“During their detention, I enlisted the help of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein, and Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister to brief the Malaysian Embassy in Brunei and to request help to secure their release,” Gerawat said.
In the meantime, the families of the four men were informed and assured that the detainees were safe and that they would be released in due time.
Cash assistance was also handed over to the families through Gerawat’s Service Centre in Marudi last week.
“To ensure that they had proper legal advice and representation in the event that they get charged in court upon expiration of their remand, I engaged the services of an experienced Brunei lawyer to represent them,” he explained.
With the help of the Malaysian embassy in Bandar Seri Begawan and close cooperation of the Brunei authorities, the men were discharged and freed by a court without any charge last May 9. However, the shotgun which they carried during their hunting trip was forfeited by the Brunei authorities.
Gerawat has also reminded longhouse residents living near the borders with Brunei and Indonesia not to stray over when hunting or gathering jungle produce.
“It’s safer to avoid hunting or gathering jungle produce near the borders,” he said.
It is also important for the relevant enforcement agencies to tell people where the international boundaries are as well as conduct patrols to stop people from straying over, he said.
“During the ongoing movement control order (MCO) it is vital that our enforcement authorities stop people from crossing our borders to stop the spread of Covid-19,” he said.