The pirates who abducted three crew members from the Japanese tugboat Idaten in the Malacca Straits Monday, disguised themselves as local fishermen to evade police check, a police officer said Wednesday.
The crew who were safe in the attack had informed that the pirates used three local fishing boats to approach the tugboat, Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Coordination Center Director, First Admiral Abdul Hadi Abdul Rashid, told reporters after closing a naval exercise in Penang State.
"In our enforcement operations, we only inspect foreign fishing vessels which encroach our waters and not local ones. It is impossible for us to check all boats in our waters within a short time," he said.
He said because of the disguise, a patrol vessel which was partof the exercise and about 15 nautical miles east of the location of the attack could not respond in time.
Abdul Hadi said investigations found the boats to be Malaysian-owned but with false registration numbers and the owners were being traced.
I guess the neon signs flashing "Pirates! Pirates!" haven't arrived yet.