Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesian Police named three suspects over a human trafficking case of 22 Indonesian seafarers working for several Chinese fishing boats, General Crime Director at the National Police's Crime Investigation Directorate Brig. Gen. Ferdy Sambo stated.

The suspects are William Gozaly, a worker of PT APJ in Bekasi, West Java; Joni Kasiyanto, the director of PT SMG in Pemalang, Central Java; and Kiagus M. Firdaus, an employee of PT LPB in Tegal, Central Java, he notified journalists in Jakarta on Wednesday.

The police investigators charged them under Article 4 of Law No. 21 of 2007 on Human Trafficking, he stated.

The 22 Indonesian seafarers were flown to Busan, South Korea, on Feb 13-14, 2020. They were then employed aboard the Chinese fishing boats. Three of them, identified as Sepri, Alfatah, and Ari, died onboard the vessels between December 22 and April 2, 2020.

Their bodies were buried at sea while the other named Effendi passed away after being hospitalized in Busan, South Korea, on April 26, he noted.

The appalling news of three Indonesian sailors, who died aboard two Chinese fishing vessels in December 2019 and April 2020 and then buried at sea, went viral in South Korea after MBC, a local TV station, broadcast it in its news bulletin.

The news on the deaths of the Indonesians working aboard Long Xin 629 and Long Xin 604 while the fishing boats were sailing in the Pacific Ocean shocked the Indonesian public since it came at a time when Indonesians were busy tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the Indonesian seafarers interviewed by MBC highlighted the mistreatment and dire working conditions.

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In response to this case, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi revealed earlier that the Indonesian Government had handled the protection of 46 Indonesian crew members and cases of three Indonesian crew, whose bodies were buried at sea.

Some 15 of the 46 Indonesian seafarers worked for fishing boat Long Xing 626, while eight others were employed by fishing vessel Long Xing 605; three worked for Tian Yu 8; and remaining 20 others were employed by Long Xing 606.

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry revealed that on April 14-16, the Indonesian Embassy in Seoul had received notifications on the planned arrivals of Long Xing 605 and Tian Yu 8 carrying Indonesian crew members as well as on the deaths of Indonesian crew.

The two fishing vessels carried in total 46 Indonesian crew members to South Korea's waters and docked at the Busan Port. However, they had left the port heading to China.

During their docking at Busan Port, the South Korean authorities did not allow them to leave since the 35 Indonesian crew members getting on board these two Chinese vessels were not officially registered as their crew.

In its place, the Busan Port authorities considered them as passengers. Most of the Indonesian crew members were repatriated to Indonesia, according to the Indonesian Foreign Ministry.

The seafarers, who had returned home, comprised 11 crew of the Long Xing 605 and Tian Yu 8. They flew back to Indonesia on April 24 and 18 crew of Long Xing 606 that departed South Korea for Indonesia on May 3.

Two Indonesian crew members working for Long Xing 606 are required to complete the country's immigration requirements prior to their repatriation, while 15 crew of Long Xing 209 flew back to Indonesia on May 8.

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Translator: Anita PD, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Sri Haryati
Copyright © ANTARA 2020