Batam, Riau Islands (ANTARA News) - The Batam Water Police recently took 61 Vietnamese fishermen into custody for illegal fishing in the waters of Riau Island province, stated an official.

"On January 4, the fishermen were caught onboard four big fishing vessels in the waters of the Anambas District. They entered the Riau Island waters through the South China Sea," Commander of Bisma 8001 patrol boat Adjunct Senior Commissioner Sigit N. Hidayat remarked here on Friday.

Sigit noted that the four fishing vessels seized by the police were equipped with sophisticated navigation devices and radar for detecting the presence and location of schools of fish in the waters. The fishing vessels, each weighing 100-160 tons, are now anchored in the navy base in Batam.

The police investigations revealed that the Vietnamese fishermen had repeatedly visited Batams Office for Marine and Fishery to obtain permits for fishing in the Indonesian waters. However, the local authorities declined their requests. The police suspect that the fishermen were involved in illegal fishing activities in the Batam waters during their return trip to Vietnam.

Riau Islands provincial territory includes some areas of the South China Sea. For several years, fishermen from Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia have frequented this area for conducting illegal fishing.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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