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38 Vietnamese charged for illegal fishing

12th August, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: Thirty-eight Vietnamese men who were caught in two fishing vessels last week were charged in the Sessions Court for illegal fishing and using fake registration numbers on the boats.

In the first count, the Vietnamese men denied fishing in the waters off Pulau Mengalum here without any permit between 8.40am and 9.10 am on Aug 1.

They also denied using fake registration numbers on the vessels at the same time and place.

The first charge framed under Section 15(1) of the Fisheries Act 1985(Act 317) is punishable under Section 25(a) of the same Act and read with Section 34 of the Penal Code.

The second charge comes under Section 14(3)(b) of the Fisheries Act 1985 (Act 317) and punishable under Section 25(a) of the same Act and read with Section 34 of the Penal Code.

Each charge provides for a fine of up to RM1 million for the skipper and RM100,000 for the crew. Counsel PJ Pereira who is defending them, applied for bail for both boat skippers.

He said the duo need to liaise with their crew’s family members about the incident and that they have the seaman’s book.

Meanwhile, deputy public prosecutor from MMEA, Nurun Nazifa Mohd Iyen objected to bail.

According to her, the seaman’s book is not considered as a valid passport to enter Malaysia.

She emphasised that the crew must have a return approval from the director-general of the Malaysian Fisheries Department including international passport and temporary working visit pass.

Judge Noor Hafizah Mohd Salim fixed Sept 11 for pre-trial case management and ordered the Vietnamese to be further detained under Section 259 of the Criminal Procedure Code. – NEDM

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