Indonesia deports 8 Singaporeans for fishing on boat without permit, two more under further investigation

A navy soldier guarding suspects after boarding a fishing boat for allegedly taking Singaporeans fishing without a permit, in waters near Bintan, on Nov 4, 2016. PHOTO: THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

JAKARTA - Indonesia's immigration office deported eight Singaporeans on Monday (Nov 7) for recreational fishing off Bintan island on an Indonesian-flagged boat that didn't have sailing permits.

The eight were part of a group of 10 that were out in the Lagoi waters when a navy patrol ship arrested them on the Rantau Bertuah boat, captained and crewed by Indonesians.

The two other Singaporeans, identified only as Zulkifli, 53, and Marus, 55, have to stay for further investigation because they failed to show the authorities their passport.

Zulkifli and and Marus, who are now in Batam, are not being held in detention as an Indonesian relative of one of the two Singaporeans provided a guarantee, according to a statement from the Indonesian embassy in Singapore.

"The eight have passports, meaning they entered Indonesia legally, while the other two do not have passports. We are investigating them," said Mr Muhammad Noor, the spokesman of the Tanjung Uban immigration office in Bintan.

Bintan is part of the Riau Islands, the Indonesian province closest to Singapore.

The oldest among the eight being deported was Mr Zulhamid bin Ismail, 56, and the youngest was Mr Dzulhakim bin Dzulkifli, 26.

The fishing boat was travelling from Batam to Bintan, about five km away.

Recent arrests in Indonesian waters involving Singaporeans or Singapore-flagged vessels include fishing boats MV Selin and the Seven Seas Conqueress, both piloted by Singaporean captains.

MV Selin captain Shoo Chiau Huat was ferrying seven Singaporean and six Malaysian recreational anglers near Tanjung Berakit when he was arrested in April.

His case was followed by a similar incident in August when the Malaysia-flagged Seven Seas Conqueress, which was piloted by boat captain Ricky Tan Poh Hui, was detained while it was in waters near Bintan.

Mr Shoo and Mr Tan are in the custody of the Indonesian authorities pending their court hearings.

The authorities have refused to release Mr Shoo despite a court clearing him in July of a trespassing charge. He has since been charged with a fresh immigration offence.

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