Tuesday, September 24

Ordeal over for M’sian anglers detained by Indonesian authorities

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The 14 Malaysians gather for a group photo upon their arrival at Satubong Boat Club.

KUCHING: Fourteen Malaysians who were detained by the Indonesian authorities while fishing near the waters off Tanjung Datu last Tuesday, arrived home safely yesterday after being released on Thursday.

Skipper Abdul Oswazir Abang Ahmad, 47, from Kampung Sungai Bedaun, said he was grateful because all 11 anglers and two crew members had arrived safely at Santubong Boat Club near here at 12.50pm.

“ Relieved and very grateful after being released by the Indonesian authorities,” he said when met by reporters.

Abdul Oswazir said it was the first time ever in his life being detained, having been a boatman for over 20 years.

“As far as I am concerned, we were still in Malaysian waters (when arrested) and had not done anything wrong, but they (Indonesian authorities) claimed that the area where we fished was in their waters and they captured our vessel,” he said.

One of the anglers  Ma’ck Crose Watt, 54, from Kampung   Selampit in Lundu, was grateful that he and his son Calaston, 18, as well as the other anglers were released.

“At 1 pm yesterday (Thursday), we were told that we were allowed to go home, which was a big relief to all of us.

“At 3pm on that same day, we left for home,” he said, adding that they had to travel for about 22 hours before arriving here.

He added he and his son were safe as nothing bad happened during their detention, except that their catch amounting 100kg  were seized by the Indonesian authorities.

“They also treated us well, provided food and drink to us,” he said.

Calaston also related a tense moment when they were arrested.

“At that time, I was having breakfast – suddenly there came a big battleship from afar and we heard a shot. It was very scary.

“They screamed as they approached our boat, ordering us to gather before arresting and placing us in detention,” he said.

However, Calaston said he was grateful after being released without having to go to any Indonesian prison.