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KOTA TINGGI: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), with the cooperation with Tentera Nasional Indonesia (TNI), have arrested a gang of 16 robbers, including two of its leaders, in the waters of southern Mersing and Pulau Batam after they robbed a merchant vessel early Friday morning.

MMEA director-general Datuk Seri Zulkifli Abu Bakar said in the 3am incident, a Mongolian-registered merchant vessel MT Lee Bo, was robbed by 14 men armed with machetes and knives.

He said acting on information that it received, the agency conducted an investigation and raided the vessel at a location about 25 nautical miles of the waters of Mersing at 6.45am and arrested the 14 suspects aged between 35 and 53.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) director-general Datuk Seri Zulkifli Abu Bakar (centre) shows some of the weapons seized. Pic by MOHD AZREN JAMALUDIN

“Following an interrogation, they admitted to robbing MT Lee Bo and revealed the identities of their leaders. We then contacted our strategic partner, the Western Fleet Quick Response of TNI, who arrested the two leaders in Pulau Batam, Indonesia at 9.30am.

“The two men, aged 40 and 50, are believed to be the leaders of the gang and will be brought to Malaysia to help with the investigation,” said Zulkiflli at a press conference at the agency’s base in Tanjung Sedili here.

He said the case is being investigated under Section 387 of the Penal Code for committing gang robbery.

“We are also investigating the presence MT Lee Bo at the location as it had been lingering in the area. We want to find out whether they are trying to illegally buy diesel or not.

“If they have committed an offence then we will take action against them. However, all this depends on the investigation,” said Zulkifli.

He said this is the biggest success for the agency this year and MMEA will continue with Ops Pagar until after the festive season.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) director-general Datuk Seri Zulkifli Abu Bakar (right) speaks to one of the robbers. Pic by MOHD AZREN JAMALUDIN
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