GEORGE TOWN: Malaysian police have yet to release the four armed Thai nationals who were said to have kidnapped four Malaysian fishermen near Pulau Langgun in Langkawi on Sunday.
Satun governor Pattanapon Rattanapichetchaihad said the Thai nationals are not pirates. Three of them are marine police and the fourth a deputy village head, he said.
A Malaysian police spokesperson, who preferred not to be named, today said both sides are in a cordial and diplomatic discussion that is being held in a neighbourly manner.
"We expect this to be resolved soon. The police investigation is on a few angles from miscommunication to trespassing, smuggling and abduction," he said.
The Malaysian spokesperson said both sides have conflicting accounts of where the incident occurred. The Thais claimed that the fishermen had encroached into Thai waters but the Malaysians claimed that they were fishing in an economic exclusive zone where commercial fishing is allowed.
The Malaysian marine police said it took place 170 nautical miles away from the nearest Thai island link – Pulau Tiga, which is off Koh Lipe.
However, the Thai governor said they were arrested by Malaysian authorities for carrying out their duty in stopping foreign fishermen from trespassing into Thai waters.
The incident off Pulau Langgun is 10 nautical miles from the main island of Langkawi, several local fishermen board five trawlers were allegedly waylaid by a group of armed Thai men.
A Malaysian marine police craft intercepted one Thai speedboat and captured the four Thai individuals. The four local fishermen were released by the Thai marine police on Monday.