A total of 29 Vietnamese fishermen were detained by Malaysian authorities last Saturday for alleged trespassing and illegal fishing.
According to Commander Hamiludin Che Awang, the deputy director-general of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA,) the men were arrested about 80 nautical miles off Kuching, Sarawak, on May 11, The Jakarta Post reported.
The men, aged between 20 and 50, were fishing when a patrol ship found them. They were detained when they failed to show a permit and other documents.
Awang added that the crew has been taken to the Abang Salahuddin Maritime Complex for further questioning. The Vietnamese embassy in Malaysia has been informed of their arrest. In addition, three tons of fish and fishing equipment valued at two million ringgit (US$480,000) were confiscated from their two fishing boats.
This was the fourth time Malaysia has seized a foreign vessel for illegal fishing, all Vietnamese. According to official statistics, from 2018 until April this year, there have been 101 cases of Vietnamese fishing boats trespassing. A total of 1,258 fishermen and 163 vessels have been detained.