JOHOR BARU: The Southern Region Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has rescued a local fishing boat from an attempted robbery and kidnap case by five armed foreigners, in the waters off Batu Pahat on Tuesday evening. Southern Region MMEA operations deputy director Commander Sanifah Yusof said the department received a distress call at 7pm on Tuesday. "We immediately deployed a patrol boat and rushed to the site, it is about 15 nautical miles southwest off Tg. Laboh, Batu Pahat." He said three of the pirates were armed with machetes, while the other two had guns. According to Sanifah, the pirates, who were in a wooden boat, ordered the fishing boat JHF 2529 into Indonesian waters. With the assistance of Indonesian authorities, the boat was released at 1am Wednesday. Based on initial investigations, the robbers had demanded for a ransom of RM30,000 from the three man crew of the fishing boat. He said the three fishermen and the class B fishing vessel returned safely to the Pontian jetty at about 3.30am this morning. Sanifah said this in a press conference at the Southern Region MMEA office here today. He also advised fishermen to be careful when approaching the border between Malaysia and Indonesia, as the modus operandi of the pirates was to target fishing boats operating near the border of both countries. He noted that MMEA beginning from 2017, MMEA has recorded seven similar cases.