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 the Singaporean can return home without "unnecessary delay".
In a statement yesterday, MFA said that while the Singapore 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.
Shoo has been detained since April last year when his boat, ferrying 13 recreational anglers from Singapore and Malaysia, was stopped for trespassing by the Indonesian Navy in waters off Bintan Island.
While his passengers were deported a week later, Shoo was charged with illegal fishing in Indonesian waters. He was acquitted in July, but new charges relating to immigration offences were brought against him in October. Shoo was found guilty on Tuesday.
The Tanjung Pinang Court ruled he should pay a 50 million rupiah (S$5,300) fine or serve five months' jail in lieu of the fine. But he may not be allowed to leave even if he pays the fine, as the Indonesian Navy says it intends to pursue a separate case against him for sailing in Indonesian waters without a permit. He could serve a maximum six years' jail.
Shoo's wife, Mrs Jasmine Shoo, said: "I visited him ...last Tuesday, knowing he might not be back for the (Chinese New Year) festivities, and gave him a red packet for good luck." The 50-year-old administrative assistant is taking care of their four children.
•Additional reporting by Seow Bei Yi