MFA urges Indonesia to 'expeditiously' process detained boat captain's case

Singaporean fishing boat captain Shoo Chiau Huat in a Tanjung Pinang court on Oct 27, 2016.
Singaporean fishing boat captain Shoo Chiau Huat in a Tanjung Pinang court on Oct 27, 2016. PHOTO: F. PANGESTU

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs(MFA) has urged the Indonesian authorities to process the case of detained boat captain Shoo Chiau Huat "expeditiously" so that he can return to Singapore without "unnecessary delay".

In a statement on Friday (Jan 20) the MFA said while the Singaporean Government respects the law and judicial process of Indonesia, it is "deeply concerned" with Shoo's prolonged detention and the "long-drawn" judicial process related to his case.

"We will continue to reiterate to the relevant Indonesian authorities that Mr Shoo's case be processed expeditiously, so that he can return to Singapore without unnecessary delay," said the ministry.

"Officers from MFA and the Singapore Consulate in Batam will also continue to render all necessary consular assistance to Mr Shoo and his family."

Shoo has been detained since April last year (2016) when his boat, ferrying 13 recreational anglers from Singapore and Malaysia, was stopped for trespassing by the Indonesian Navy in the waters of Tanjung Berakit, off Bintan island.

While his passengers were deported a week later, Shoo was charged with illegal fishing in Indonesian waters.

He was acquitted of the charge in July, but new charges relating to immigration offences were brought against him in October.

Shoo was found guilty on Tuesday (Jan 17). The Tanjung Pinang Court ruled that he should pay a fine of  50 million rupiah ($5,300) or serve a five-month prison sentence in lieu of the fine.

However, he may not be allowed to leave Indonesia even if he pays the fine, as the Indonesian Navy has said it intends to pursue a separate case against him for sailing in Indonesian waters without a permit. He could serve a maximum six years in jail for the offence.

No formal notification of these charges has yet been issued.

Speaking to The Straits Times on Friday, Shoo's wife, Mrs Jasmine Shoo said it makes her sad to think about the upcoming Chinese New Year next Saturday (Jan28).

"I visited him in Indonesia last Tuesday (Jan 10), knowing he might not be back for the festivities, and gave him a red packet for good luck," said the 50-year-old administrative assistant, who is taking care of their four children.

News of the separate case against her husband has left Mrs Shoo frustrated.

She said she intends to meet her Member of Parliament, Punggol East's Mr Charles Chong, for help next week.