Unlicensed sea cucumbers catching tool: 7 Viets jailed
Published on: Tuesday, December 03, 2019
By: Cynthia D Baga
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Sea cucumbers harvested from the sea floor.
Kota Kinabalu: Seven Vietnamese were jailed three months and fined RM10,000 or six months’ jail each for having fishing appliance – equipment to harvest sea cucumbers from the sea bed, without a licence.

Sessions Court Judge Elsie Primus handed the sentence to Tran Van Dan, 43, Nguyen Ven Thanh, 53, Nguyen Van Queo, 39, Nguyen Van Cu, 33, Truong Tan Mai, 33, Nguyen Van My, 36, Nguyen Vu Linh, 26.

The seven pleaded guilty to having the fishing appliance illegally on board of a local fishing at about 2.3 nautical miles northeast of Pulau Tapukan Malawali, Kudat  at 1.30pm on Oct 28 this year.

The offence under Section 11 (3) (b) of the Fisheries Act 1985 and read together under Section 34 of the Penal Code which carries a jail term of up to two years, or a fine of up to RM20,000, or both, on conviction.

After completing their jail sentence, the seven were ordered referred to the Immigration Department for deportation.

During mitigation, through their counsel the Vietnamese asked for a minimum sentence and fine only to be imposed on them saying that they only worked as fishermen and earned RM1,000 per month.

The court was informed that the Vietnamese were on their way to Kudat for docking but already midnight and stop at the sea. The tools were actually not for catching.

The court also heard that there was no indication showed the Vietnamese were fishing at that time.

However, Deputy Public Prosecutor Wan Muhammad Fitri Wan Azizan from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) urged the court to hand down a deterrent sentence on the grounds that it was a serious offence.

Wan also submitted that this kind of catching tool could affect to the marine eco-system as well as the damage corals are unable to recover.

In the same court, ten other Vietnamese claimed trial to using a vessel with the registration number of other vessel.

The first group were Le Van Tsung, Luu Quoc Billh, Diet Van Teuong, Nguyen Van Canh and Nguyen Vu Ohilang who are accused of committing the offence at 2.30am on Oct 28 this year at the Pulau Tapukan Malawali, Kudat.

The second group - Mai Van Nguyen, Vo Van Phuong, Tran Van Thang, Tran Van Ho and Nguyen Van Tan are accused of committing the similar offence at 1.30pm on Nov 11 at the Pulau Mantanani, Kota Belud.

The court set Jan 9 next year for case management and no bail was offered to all the ten pending the disposal of their case.


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