Three Hong Kong fishermen brothers jailed in Malaysia for straying into the country's waters while looking for the crew of a missing boat returned home to an uncertain future yesterday. The brothers have lost the boat that was their livelihood and were apart from their family when their mother died soon after their arrest in September. Skipper Kwok Kam-shui, 52, and his brothers Kwok Fan-lau and Kwok Kam-moon, both in their 40s, were in tears as their families greeted them at Chek Lap Kok airport, two days after their release from jail. They and 21 mainland fishermen were each fined M$5,000 (HK$10,000) by a court in Kuching in September after their 30-metre boat strayed into Malaysian waters while searching for the crew of another fishing boat that sank off the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea on August 14. The fishermen could not afford the fines and were jailed for three months, but were released three weeks early after the Chinese government intervened. But their boat was confiscated by the authorities. Kwok Kam-shui, who was fined an extra M$50,000 for his role as skipper, said: 'We have no idea what to do next. The boat is lost and we are old and have no money to buy a new one. Also, there are not many jobs around we can do. 'Even if I manage to find a way back to sea, the experience will still cast an everlasting shadow on me when fishing near those waters.' He said they missed their families very much while in jail. They were not allowed phone calls home and were devastated when they learnt that their mother had died soon after their arrest. Looking forlorn, the youngest brother, Kwok Kam-moon, reflected on his harsh stay in jail. 'Although we were well fed, we had to sleep on the floor with other inmates, most of them Vietnamese and detained for similar offences,' he said. 'We were kept locked in our cell for most of the time and only let out for a brief walkabout in the compound every two weeks.' The other brother, Kwok Fan-lau, who has a heart problem, hugged his wife and son, Mick, 20. Mick went to Shenzhen to collect his father's medical records to send to Malaysia in the hope they would prompt an early release. Also there to greet them was Fung Ching-fook, the skipper of the missing fishing boat the brothers were searching for when they were arrested. 'I am glad they are back after their troubles of the last three months,' he said. Mr Fung and 10 of his men were rescued by the Vietnam authorities a week after the sinking when their sampan drifted to an island. The rest, including two SAR fishermen and 23 from Guangdong, are still missing. Pang Wah-kan, vice-chairman of the Joint Committee of Hong Kong Fishermen's Organisations, said the episode served as a reminder that there were grey areas in fishing off the Spratlys. Six countries - China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan - claim either full or partial ownership of the islands group.