New Zeland Flag (Image/Google)

DILI, 02 September 2020 (TATOLI)– A New Zealand fisherman with the initials of JC (67 years of age) has acknowledged his wrong doing in an attempt to travel via boats from Surabaya, Indonesia to Liran Indonesia in an attempt to enter Timor Leste for five days to renew his Visa.

John had chartered a boat for 3 million Rupiah ($200USD) heading to Alor island, the authorities there informed him that Timor-Leste was in the State of Emergency and had restrictions on foreigners entering. The man decided it would be better to stay in Indonesia and decided to head back to an immigration port in Indonesia to explain his situation.

“I slept on the boat from when we passed the southern tip of Liran, Indonesia. The boat was leaking and stunk of diesel and oil, and this was when I decided to seal my small pack of belongings inside a plastic bag. I had serious concerns that we might not make it to Alor; however, after we got clear, the ocean flattened out a bit.”JH told Tatoli in an interview.

During his rest on the boat, he was awoken by the owner of the boat, who was pointing at an Island saying ‘Alor’.

“When I woke up, the owner of the boat pointed to the island ahead, saying Alor. I thought that couldn’t be right and didn’t bother unsealing my pack to check if my phone was working, I thought to myself that we hadn’t been travelling for long enough. I asked if there was a jetty, wharf or beach because all I could see in the darkness was cliffs. The owner of the boat just kept repeating Alor! After a brief argument, I decided that where-ever we were I would swim there and take my chances.” – John said in an interview with Tatoli.

Last Friday 14 of August, a foreigner, from New Zeland, arrived by boat on the coast of Acrema Uara-Ana, he was found by the community who informed Police to investigate,” Euclides Belo told the Journalist during the press conference at PNTL Quart Gen Caicoli Dili on 14th August.

The man had no intentions of entering Timor-Leste or arriving on Atauro and certainly didn’t expect to scale rocks, walk up small paths to then be found hours later by a fisher. The fisherman who found him assisted the man from their place in the ocean by shinning flashlights along the rocks as he was walking, they asked if he required any assistance, and they had notified the community.

“I had no intentions of entering Timor Leste. It’s just how it turned out. It wasn’t until I spoke with the local fisherman that I had a fair idea that this was not an Indonesian island, The fisherman who came ashore was really kind and helpful he said to keep walking that way (south), and his English wasn’t so good, but I could tell he was trying to help me. after a good hour walk, this fleet of scooters and bikes arrived ahead of me and the leader basically ordered me to walk behind him for another half an hour,” JH explain.

JH arrived on the beaches of Atauro, at 11:25 am at approximately 2:35 am  of 13th of August a fisherman discovered him on Atauro. After Jumping off a boat and completing a 2-hour swim towards what he thought was the island of Alor in Indonesia.

Second PNTL Commander, Sup. Euclides Belo said, after being located by the authorities on Atauro, John was brought to a quarantine facility in Dili and is undertaking his mandatory quarantine. The Police are continuing their investigation on the situation and will work with the Migration to find the solution to the JH problem according to law.

Mr. Belo acknowledge the New Zealand Citizens was illegally entered Timor-Leste but he has his passport, thus the PNTL will present the issue to the Migration of Timor-Leste and will bring him to the New Zealand Embassy.

Journalist : Eugénio Pereira/Nelia Borges

Editor : Francisco Simões/Nick kettle

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