Kelong Pontian in Johor, Malaysia. Photo: Google Maps

Five armed Indonesian men were arrested for allegedly kidnapping three Malaysian fishermen and demanding a ransom of 30,000 ringgits (US$7,655) after a rescue operation by Malaysian and Indonesian authorities on Wednesday.

At 7pm on Tuesday the Southern Region Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) received a distress call from a local fishing boat about 15 nautical miles southwest off Tanjung Laboh, Batu Pahat, Johor, Nanyang Siang Pau (Malaysia) reported.

Three fishermen aged between 25 and 40 were allegedly intercepted and threatened by five Indonesians – three armed with machetes while the other two had guns, who ordered them to direct their fishing boat into Indonesian waters.

By 1am on April 25, the hijacked vessel was released after the five suspects were arrested by Indonesian authorities, and the fishermen were able to return safely to a jetty at Kelong Pontian at about 3.30am.

The Southern Region MMEA operations deputy director Commander Sanifah Yusof said there had been seven similar events since last year.

An investigation into the alleged attempted robbery and kidnap case will be conducted by both Malaysian and Indonesian authorities.

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