Singaporean captain held in Bintan: MFA seeks clarification

The MFA is seeking clarification on the legal basis for the detention of Captain Shoo Chiau Huat (left), including details of the charges, it said.
The MFA is seeking clarification on the legal basis for the detention of Captain Shoo Chiau Huat (left), including details of the charges, it said.

JAKARTA • The Indonesian authorities are still holding a Singaporean boat captain even though a court has acquitted him of fishing illegally in the country's waters.

Captain Shoo Chiau Huat, 50, had seven Singaporeans and six Malaysians on board MV Selin when the boat was caught by the navy on April 16 in Tanjung Berakit waters, off Bintan island.

Mr Shoo had said he was ferrying tourists to do recreational fishing within Singapore waters, but the boat drifted towards Indonesian waters.

His passengers were all deported about a week after their arrest.

But Mr Shoo remains in custody and is now detained for alleged immigration violations.

His lawyer, Mr Herman Black, said his client should have been released by last Wednesday at the latest, The Jakarta Post reported.

The Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) told The Straits Times yesterday it is monitoring his case "with concern".

"We have sought clarification on the legal basis for Mr Shoo's detention, including the details of the charges; the maximum length of time that Mr Shoo can be detained under Indonesian law; and the anticipated timeframe for the conclusion of the case," the MFA said.

"Officers from the Singapore Consulate in Batam make regular visits to Mr Shoo, and provide regular updates to Mr Shoo's family. We will continue to render all necessary consular assistance to Mr Shoo and his family," it added.

Mr Black claimed Mr Shoo was still detained because of political pressure, including from Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti, who deemed the Tanjungpinang Fisheries Court's decision to acquit the Singaporean "insensitive to the illegal fishing eradication effort".

Ms Susi is well known for blowing up foreign fishing boats caught poaching in Indonesian waters.

The country celebrated Independence Day last Wednesday by sinking 60 seized foreign vessels.

The head of the information section at the Tanjungpinang immigration office, Mr Said Noviansyah, said that his office was investigating Mr Shoo because he allegedly entered Indonesian territory without permission.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2016, with the headline 'S'porean captain held in Bintan: MFA seeks clarification'. Print Edition | Subscribe