Malaysian Navy: Filipino Fishermen Were Not Beaten

Dennis Wong
2016.05.25
Kuching
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160525-my-navy1000.jpg Royal Malaysian Navy personnel participate in a search and rescue mission, May 28, 2015.
AFP

The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) on Wednesday denied allegations from three Filipino fishermen that they were beaten after being caught encroaching into Malaysian waters near the disputed Spratly islands more than two weeks ago.

“The RMN have conducted an investigation to look into what really happened in the incident. Till now, there is no truth in the claims by the Filipino fishermen,’’ RMN Chief Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin said in the statement.

The fishermen, Nelson Plamiano, Arlon Sandro and Odelin Baisa, were part of a 22-member crew of the fishing boat Justin Lloyd, which reportedly ventured into waters claimed by Malaysia in the South China Sea.

On Monday, the trio told Philippine media that they were handcuffed and beaten during a four-hour detention on May 9. Two days later, relatives told Philippine media about the alleged abuse, but the Philippine Navy and Coast Guard did not respond to requests for details about the detention.

This week, the fishermen asked the Philippine government to sue those responsible for their assault, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The navy’s Western Command told the Inquirer that their complaint was being addressed, but did not name Malaysia.

According to the statement from Ahmad Kamarulzaman the Malaysian investigation concluded that the Philippine boat had entered the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), requiring the check by the RMN patrol boat.

“The fishermen were ordered to show their identification. The fishing trawler skipper then sent three of its crew in smaller boats to approach our vessel. Two of the fisherman complied with the demand, while another decided to jump into the sea to avoid inspection,’’ he said.

He said Malaysian sailors rescued the fisherman. After checking their identification, the fishermen were returned to the trawler and ordered to leave Malaysia’s EEZ, Ahmad Kamarulzaman said.

Counterparts with the Philippine navy have been informed of the investigation, he added.

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