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KUCHING: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has nabbed 29 Vietnamese nationals and two vessels for encroachment and illegal fishing in Sarawak waters.

Sarawak MMEA deputy director-general (operations) Commander Hamiludin Che Awang said the Vietnamese nationals, all men aged between 20 and 50, were arrested some 80 nautical miles from northern coast of Kuching at 5pm on Saturday (May 11).

“They were fishing illegally when the maritime patrol spotted the vessels. They failed to produce any permit and valid personal document.

“The 24 men in the first boat and five in another vessel were then taken to the Abang Salahuddin maritime complex (KOMTAS) Muara Tebas here for further investigation," he said.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has nabbed 29 Vietnamese nationals and two vessels for encroachment and illegal fishing in Sarawak waters. Pic by Kuching. NSTP/L.MANIMARAN

Seized items worth RM2 million include two vessels and three tonnes of illegally caught fish.

Speaking at a press conference here, Hamiludin said the suspects would be taken to court and remanded.

The case is being investigated under the Fisheries Act 1985.

“This is the fourth case of foreign vessels caught for illegal fishing this year. All the fishermen and boats nabbed were from Vietnam.

“We urge local fishermen and the public to report to the authorities if they see any suspicious fishing boats,” he stressed.

“We are serious in fighting encroachment of illegal fishermen into Malaysian waters, particular Sarawak,” he added.

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