Singapore angler clarifies that he was the one who caught the basket star

Singaporean angler Ramlan Saim has clarified that he was the one who reeled in a strange octopus-like creature, a catch which has captured global attention. -- PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM FACEBOOK
Singaporean angler Ramlan Saim has clarified that he was the one who reeled in a strange octopus-like creature, a catch which has captured global attention. -- PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Singaporean angler Ramlan Saim has clarified that he was the one who reeled in a strange octopus-like creature, a catch which has captured global attention.

While several international news outlets had identified the angler as a Mr Ong Han Boon, Mr Ramlan said on Wednesday morning that this was a case of mistaken identity.

"He must have been one of the people that shared the video, and they thought he was the fisherman that caught it," said Mr Ramlan, 53, an assistant project manager.

He said he caught the basket star - a distant relative of the starfish - at one of his usual fishing spots off Pulau Ubin late last month.

The creature was writhing and wriggling what looked like more than a hundred arms.

"I know that area has a lot of seaweed, so I thought that was what I had hooked up. But then when I put it on the boat it started to move like an alien," he told The Straits Times, adding that he later released the creature.

Mr Ramlan later posted a video of the creature to his Facebook, where he is known as Jr Saim. The post has since gone viral, with almost eight million views and close to 130,000 likes.

 

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The creature actually has only five arms, which are each split into more dexterous "branchlets".

News media including the Metro, Express and Daily Mail in Britain had quoted Mr Ong, whom they said was 54, as the fisherman who caught the basket star, and said he was fishing in Sentosa when this happened.

But the photo accompanying many of the stories in fact showed Mr Ramlan's post.

Mr Ramlan said he wasn't bothered about the mix up. He was more surprised at the amount of attention the video has received.

"I was more surprised at the number of views the video got. I had just uploaded it to show my friends (what I caught)."