SINGAPORE - A motorised boat carrying two foreigners was speeding towards the northern coast of Singapore near Punggol, attempting to gain unlawful entry into the country.
As the boat neared the shore, a Bangladeshi man, 20, leapt into the water and swam towards land while the Malaysian boatman, 46, quickly steered the boat into a U-turn back to the Malaysian shore.
But out of the blue, a Police Coast Guard (PCG) vessel appeared to intercept the boat, firing visual flares and issuing verbal warnings to make it stop. When the boatman refused to stop, a high-speed chase ensued until the PCG disabled the boat and caused it to capsize.
This drama, which lasted for about a minute, played out on Monday (March 25) at around 7.40pm, and ended with the arrest of both men for entering Singapore unlawfully under the Immigration Act.
At a media briefing on Tuesday, the PCG revealed details of the operation, including how the Bangladeshi man was arrested by its Special Task Squadron deployed on the shores of Punggol Barat, who found him along the fencing surrounding the coastline.
The motorised fiberglass boat and cash amounting to RM$3,734 (S$1,252) were seized in the joint operation with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority.
The police said preliminary investigations revealed the Malaysian boatman had picked up the Bangladeshi from the shoreline of Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
Commander of the Police Coast Guard, Senior Assistant Commissioner of Cheang Keng Keong, said: "The PCG will continue to work closely with other agencies to safeguard our waters and sea borders against crime and security threats, including unauthorised entry into and departure from Singapore."
Staff sergeant Norisham Abu Samah, 40, who was part of a two-men squad in the Coastal Hardening Strike Force, told reporters that he felt a sense of accomplishment after being involved in the operation, which was his first time encountering such a situation.
The police said the two men will be charged in court on Wednesday with illegal entry into Singapore under Section 6(1)(c) of the Immigration Act.
Any person found guilty for this offence shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months and caning with not less than three strokes.
The boatman is also being investigated for engaging in the business or trade of conveying illegal immigrant to Singapore under Section 57(1)(c) of the Act.
Anyone who engages in the business or trade of conveying illegal immigrant to Singapore shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not less than two years and not more than five years and caning with not less than three strokes.