KOTA KINABALU – Cross-border criminals in the southern Philippines are the main consumers of diesel and petrol smuggled from Sabah, said Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) deputy intelligence chief Asst Comm Hashim Justin.
ACP Hashim Saturday said that notable users of smuggled petrol and diesel were kidnap for ransom or KFR groups.
“The fuel being bought by the fuel smugglers are mainly used by these criminal groups carrying out abductions and robberies in Sabah’s east coast,” he said.
ACP Hashim told a briefing of local community leaders from Kudat district that these cross-border criminals were funding themselves through kidnappings, robberies and other crimes in Philippine, Malaysian and Indonesian waters.
“We are working with all agencies in curbing smuggling activities to ensure the fuel does not get into the hands of these criminal groups,” said ACP Hashim.
He added that human traffickers were also benefiting from smuggled fuel.
“What is worrying is that human traffickers could be trying to smuggle terrorists like Sulu terrorists or Islamic State militants into the country,” said ACP Hashim.
He stressed that this is why those living in the 10 district Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) districts should alert the authorities is they spot anything amiss in their areas.
“Any tip-offs will enable us to respond quickly to any threats such as criminal groups operating across the borders,” added ACP Hashim.