Philippine court jails 12 Vietnamese fishermen

June 19, 2014 - 2:08:20 am

PUERTO PRINCESA:  A Philippine court yesterday sentenced 12 Vietnamese men to six months in jail and fined them $100,000 for illegal fishing, the prosecutor in the case said.

The fishermen, who were arrested on March 21 with a boatload of sharks just off the western island of Palawan, pleaded guilty last week, prosecutor Alen Rodriguez said.

If the 12 cannot pay the fine, the equivalent of more than $8,000 each and a huge sum for such fishermen, the judge could add more time to their sentence, said Rodriguez.

But in similar cases in the past, foreign fishermen caught in Philippine waters were allowed to go free after serving their sentences without paying the fine, he said.

“We will see if they can pay. If they cannot, then let us see what will be done by the court,” he said.

The Vietnamese embassy in Manila could not be contacted for comment.

Taking into account the three months that the 12 have already been in jail, they may be released in September, said clerk of court Hazel Mae Alaska.