Viet trawler attempts to ram police boat in bid to escape in Sabah

Marine police rounding up illegal Vietnamese fishermen following the operation in Sandakan.

KOTA KINABALU: An illegal Vietnamese fishing trawler tried to ram a marine police patrol boat in a bid to escape arrest in waters off Sabah’s Sandakan east coast district yesterday.

Two patrol boats had earlier spotted two trawlers fishing in Malaysian waters near Lankayan Island at 9.45am.

Sabah Region 4 marine commander Mohamad Pajeri Ali said when police approached the trawlers and instructed them to stop what they were doing, one vessel sped off.

“The trawler also tried to crash into the side of one of our patrol boats … this could have ended badly for our men,” he said.

Pajeri said a high-speed chase ensued for about 30 minutes before the skipper of the trawler gave up.

“We arrested 10 Vietnamese men, aged between 20 and 40, on the two trawlers,” he said, adding that none could produce valid personal identification documents.

Pajeri said police estimated the trawlers and fishing equipment seized to be valued at more than RM1.6 million.

He said more such operations would be carried out to prevent as well as to detect foreign encroachment into Malaysian waters. He urged the public to give any information they had to the police.