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Boat owner 'to cooperate' in case involving killing of Indonesians

As police were set to probe tomorrow a fishing boat incident in which an Indonesian marine and a Indonesian fisherman were allegedly killed on March 14, Songkhla Fishery Association president Praporn Ek-uru yesterday said an executive of the boat company was ready to take responsibility and cooperate with authorities.

He said the boat company owned 30-40 fishing boats in the Indone-sian Sea and had licence to fish there. Praporn said the boat company owner was unable to contact the boat captain, who reportedly fled before the boat in question reached Thai shores.

Praporn said that since the incident, Indonesia had sent warships to seal off access for Thai fishing boats although many had proper licences.

Some 300-400 Thai fishing boats, with licence to fish in Indonesia, now had to stay ashore and this cost the industry hundreds of millions of baht per day. If the Indonesian Sea doesn't open in two months, some fishing operators would go bankrupt, he lamented.

Meanwhile, the assistant to the national police chief, Jakthip Chaijinda, who led the case investigation team, said the two victims had not yet been found and there was no plaintiff in this case. He said the alleged abduction and killing took place in Indonesian territory hence Thai police were not sure if they had the authority to investigate the case.

However, Thai Marine Police had apprehended the fishing boat in Songkhla, so the investigators would summon the boat owner for details tomorrow, he said.

Police had impounded the boat for inspection but had no authority to hold the 12 crewmembers, a source at the Songkhla Marine Police said.

Indonesian authorities had alerted the Thai Embassy in Jakarta on March 15 that the Indonesian marine and the fisherman accompanying him were abducted by a group of Thai fishermen while they were inspecting three fishing boats - KM Matahari, Cahaya-39 and KM Mutiara-39 - found to have allegedly encroached on the Indonesian Sea.


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