§ 1. Mr. Turner
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement regarding the action of an Indonesian gunboat in attacking a kumpit in North Borneo territorial waters near Tawau recently.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Nigel Fisher)
On 28th December an Indonesian gunboat intercepted a kumpit sailing off Tawau in North Borneo, arrested the crew and took it in tow. The kumpit was later abandoned as a wreck. On receiving a report of the incident H.M.S. "Barrosa" chased the gunboat; and the commanding officer, together with a police officer, went on board on the high seas. The members of the arrested crew of the kumpit were found to be Indonesian and, as the national status of the kumpit could not be established or that it had been stopped inside North Borneo territorial waters, the "Barrosa" withdrew.
§ Mr. Turner
May I first congratulate my hon. Friend and the Admiralty on having one of our latest vessels available on the spot, but, in view of similar incidents in the past, can my hon. Friend say whether representations have been made to the Indonesian Government to stop similar incidents in the future?
§ Mr. Fisher
Yes, the Governor of North Borneo made an immediate protest to the Indonesian consul. As my hon. Friend knows, the main difficulty in these cases is to establish identification. The people who were found on the Indonesian vessel were, in fact, of Indonesian nationality, and it was not established until later that the boat was owned by North Borneo Chinese.