SENAI – The eight suspects who hijacked the tanker MT Orkim Harmony in June last year are now in Malaysian custody.
They were extradited from Hanoi, Vietnam and flown to the Senai International Airport early today.
Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency director-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Puzi Ab Kahar, who headed the extradition mission, said the men, all Indonesians aged between 21 and 63 years, were brought back from Hanoi on a chartered flight which arrived at the Senai Airport at 6.10 am.
“They will be brought to the Kota Tinggi High Court here to be charged under Sections 304 and 397 of the Penal Code,” he told reporters here.
Section 394 is for voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery while 397 is for robbery when armed or with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt.
Ahmad Puzi said the extradition mission was under tight security with 40 men and officers from the agency’s Special Action Unit, Intelligence Branch and Criminal Investigation Branch making up the security detail as the suspects were deemed to be very dangerous.
“A cook, one of the 22 crew members on the tanker, was robbed and harmed. He was hospitalised at the Kubang Kerian Hospital in , Kelantan, for gunshot wounds,” he said.
Ahmad Puzi said the success of this first extradition mission by the MMEA would serve as case study at its training centre on handling sea piracy.
He said MMEA also intended share the experience (successful extradition) with its ASEAN counteroparts,
On Sept 22, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Shahidan Kassim had announced that a Vietnamese court had given the go ahead to extradit the suspects to Malaysia.
MT Orkim Harmony was hijacked east of Tanjung Sedili, Kota Tinggi, Johor on June 11, 2015. The crew and the tanker were freed and recovered on June 19 near Phu Qu?c in Vietnam with the joint efforts of Malaysia, Vietnam, Australia, Thailand and Indonesia.
Of its 22 crew members, 16 were Malaysians, five Indonesians and a Myanmar national.
The eight suspects were caught by the Vietnamese authorities near Tho Chu Island in the south of Vietnam on June 19 while they were trying to escape in a lifeboat of the tanker to avoid the dragnet for them.