MMEA detains five Indonesians for attempted robbery in east Johor waters

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KOTA TINGGI, April 15 — Five Indonesian men were arrested by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) for attempting to rob a tugboat and a scrap metal barge in the waters off eastern Johor near here yesterday.

Tanjung Sedili MMEA acting director Maritime Commander Mohd Najib Sam said the Tanjung Sedili Maritime Zone Operations Centre had received a complaint from the Johor Port Authority on the attempted robbery at 10.45am.

“The Bongawan 9 tugboat together with the Hexagro 8 barge were boarded by several unauthorised people who attempted to steal the cargo at 3.8 nautical miles south of Tanjung Penyusop hear here.

“The five Indonesian suspects attempted to flee, but were intercepted by a MMEA patrol boat. The suspects, aged between 31 and 53, were later apprehended by MMEA personnel.

“However, the suspect’s wooden boat that was under escort suffered a leak and sank at two nautical miles southeast of Tanjung Bulat,” he said in a statement today.

Mohd Najib said investigations into the robbery attempt revealed that the suspects had taken between 30 minutes to an hour to unload the scrap metal before attempting to flee.

“The suspects took advantage of the Malaysian/Indonesian sea boundary to avoid arrest.

“However, they failed to escape this time,” he said.

Mohd Najib said the suspects were believed to be involved in several previous incidents where they target slow moving boats or vessels.

He added that the suspects were known to conduct the hijack in groups, but without the use of weapons.

On the theft, Mohd Najib said the suspect’s wooden boat that sank could hold up to three tonnes of scrap metal.

He said a tonne of scrap metal can fetch a market rate of 5 million rupiah (or RM1,500) in Indonesia.

“Since 2018, there have been nine similar cases reported and this is the first arrest for the year,” he said.

The case is currently being investigated under Section 380 of the Penal Code for theft in a vessel, as well as Section 6 (1)(c) of the Immigration Act 1959/1964 for illegally entering Malaysia.

All five suspects are in MMEA custody and have been remanded for 14 days starting today.