As part of an agreement between Thai and Malaysian officials, three Thai police officers and a deputy village head who are held in Kedah will also be released.
BANGKOK: Satun provincial police have released and returned four Langkawi fishermen allegedly abducted by a group of armed men in the waters near Pulau Langgun near the tourist island.
The Chief Commissioner, maj. General Suphawat Tapkiew said the fishermen were released yesterday at 11:00 pm (midnight MYT) on Satun's Tammalang ferry pier.
The release followed an agreement at a meeting between authorities from Thailand and Malaysia to find a solution to the problem, he told Bernama today.
The meeting was chaired by Satun Governor Pattarapon Rattanapichetchai.
Bernama had to understand that the meeting also involved officers from the Malaysian Consulate General in Songkhla.
Suphawat said he expected the three Thai policemen and a deputy village head currently held by the Malaysian authorities to be released and soon return to Thailand as part of the agreement.
The Thai police officers were attached to the Mueng police station in Satun, he said, adding that the four Malaysian fishermen were released after the police recorded their statements.
According to the media, the Langkawi Navy (PPM) saved a group of Malaysian fishermen who were captured, robbed and kidnapped two days ago by unidentified gunmen near Pulau Langgun, Langkawi.
Kedah police chief Zainal Abidin Kasim said that the PPM has received information that fishermen in the waters of Teluk Palam were approached by armed men and ordered to enter the waters of a neighboring country at 8.33 am.
Following the information, the PPM launched a rescue operation where two boats of the armed men were noticed and the four Thai citizens were arrested.
Suphawat was convinced that everything would be resolved, with the three Thai policemen and deputy village chief released and soon returned to their families.
At last night's meeting, he said, the Malaysian officials have suggested that the Thai authorities write an official letter requesting the release of their nationals and their return to Thailand.
According to him, the Malaysian officials would accelerate the repatriation process of the four Thai men.
The Satun police said Suphawat would continue the investigation and suspended seven policemen, including the three currently in the hands of the Malaysian authorities, for alleged involvement in the robbery near Pulau Langgun.
The three Thai policemen and the head of the deputy village are held in Kedah and their firearms are confiscated.
"Everything will be done in accordance with the law, if they (the Thai police officers) have not committed a crime, they will get their job back.This process will take some time, because it is a sensitive issue," said Suphawat.