Fishing traps off Brunei. More foreign vessels are being found fishing illegal in the country’s waters. Photo: iStock

Four Vietnamese landed heavy fines after pleading guilty to fishing illegally in Bruneian waters — the second time a fishing vessel has been caught trespassing in the sultanate in the past five months.

The ship was boarded by naval officers for a routine inspection on September 27 and they discovered a small boat tied alongside that contained fishing equipment and a fresh catch, Borneo Bulletin reported, citing a statement from Brunei’s Ministry of Defense.

Four Vietnamese men were arrested and charged with fishing illegally about 130 nautical miles from the coast of Brunei. All pleaded guilty at a court hearing on October 5. 

Ship captain Nguyen Dung, 44, was ordered to pay a fine of BND10,000 (US$7,234) or serve 10 months in prison. His crewmen Tran Thanh, 55, Tran Huang Ha, 51, and Vo Cu, 47, were fined BND1,000 and will serve one month in jail in default of payment.

Crewmen on another Vietnamese vessel were found guilty of fishing illegally in Bruneian waters in May. The navy caught 37 men aged between 18 and 52 on the ship, Xinhua News Agency reported.