German and Singaporean arrested for diving without permit at Malaysia's Middle Rocks

The Middle Rocks, or Batuan Tengah, which is owned by Malaysia.
The Middle Rocks, or Batuan Tengah, which is owned by Malaysia. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

KUALA LUMPUR - Two men, a German and a Singaporean, were arrested on Saturday evening (Oct 29) for diving at Malaysia's Middle Rocks near Pedra Branca.

They did not have a permit to enter Malaysian territory, Malaysian coastguard said on Monday.

Mr Bjoern Cochlovius, 49, and Mr Anjashmara Mohd Khalid, a 29-year-old diving instructor, were found below the Malaysian maritime post at the Middle Rocks.

"They said it was for leisure but strayed and floated (into Malaysian territory). We're trying to verify their statements with the embassies and diving company," said director-general of  the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, Datuk Seri Ahmad Puzi Ab Kahar.

"We need to ascertain that there's no threat,"  he added. 

He said as the area has busy sea traffic, "it's very high risk to conduct diving in the area" especially at night.

The duo told Malaysian authorities that they had dived around South Ledge before floating to Middle Rocks. Both are now held in Sedili, Johor.