Kuala Lumpur: A Malaysian court has sentenced
six Indonesians to 10 years in jail and caning for trying to
rob a merchant ship off its southern coast near Singapore,
reports said on Saturday.
A district court in southern Johor state sentenced the
men yesterday after they pleaded guilty to gang robbery of the
MT Sky Jupiter on September 19, the New Straits Times and
national news agency Bernama reported.
Government lawyer Mirza Mohamad reportedly called for a
deterrent sentence to reflect the crime`s seriousness, and the
court awarded the men 10 years in prison -- half the maximum
penalty -- and four strokes with the rotan cane.
"We do not want the situation to worsen like what is
happening in the Gulf of Aden" off Somalia where pirate
attacks are frequent, the Times quoted Mirza as saying.
Bernama reported the six, aged between 25 and 45, were
The men were spotted by Malaysian patrols as they tried
to board the merchant vessel, anchored off the country`s
tip near Singapore, and caught them after a chase.
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) in June sent an
alert to ships traversing the South China Sea, warning of a
heightened piracy risk following the hijacking of three
tugboats and a barge this year there.
The Strait of Malacca -- separating the coast of
Indonesian Sumatra and the Malay peninsula -- has seen a lull
in attacks in recent years following cooperation by the
surrounding countries to rein in piracy.