Jakarta deports 8 of 10 detained S'pore anglers

Indonesia has deported eight of the 10 recreational anglers from Singapore detained last week after their Indonesian-flagged boat was found to have no valid permits and a proper passenger manifest.

An Indonesian navy boat on routine patrol had on Friday stopped the fishing boat which was sailing from Batam to Lagoi, Bintan, in the Riau Islands, according to the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore. Three Indonesian crew members and 12 passengers, including 10 Singaporeans, were on board. All were taken to Bintan for further questioning.

Eight Singaporeans were allowed to go as they had valid documents.

As the remaining two - identified by Indonesian immigration authorities as Zulkifli, 53, and Marus, 55 - could not produce their passports, they had to stay behind.

They "were eventually allowed to return to Batam to clarify their documentation status", said the embassy statement, which did not name the duo. They are not held in detention as the Indonesian family member of one of the men provided their guarantee, it added.

This is the third such case in Riau Islands involving Singaporeans on fishing trips in the area or Singapore-flagged vessels. Bintan is part of the Riau Islands, the Indonesian province closest to Singapore.

Two Singaporean boat captains - Shoo Chiau Huat and Ricky Tan Poh Hui - are in Indonesian custody pending their court hearings in the provincial capital Tanjung Pinang.

Shoo was arrested with seven Singaporeans and six Malaysians on board Singapore-flagged Selin in Tanjung Berakit, just off Bintan island on April 16, while Tan and his crew, and nine passengers were caught on Aug 21.

Indonesia has been increasing sea patrols - primarily targeting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing - since President Joko Widodo announced plans last year to beef up the country's fisheries sector.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 08, 2016, with the headline 'Jakarta deports 8 of 10 detained S'pore anglers'. Print Edition | Subscribe