BY BORNEOTODAY REPORTERS
KOTA KINABALU: Security forces operating within the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) have upped the tempo against illegal immigrants trying to breach Sabah’s shores after apparently getting stung by gunmen in Semporna earlier in the week.
Late Thursday, the navy’s elite sea unit Zebra PASCAL and another team on RHIB 130 from the forward sea base of Tun Sharifah Rodziah intercepted two boats with 11 illegal immigrants trying to sneak into the state.
Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) commander Datuk Wan Bari Wan Abdul Khalid said the 11 Filipinos were caught while trying slip in two boats in Pulau Mantabuan waters at around 8.15pm on Thursday.
“All those in the boats were found without any identity documents,’’ he said, adding that the 11 comprised of seven men, two women and two children aged between 11 and 42.
“They are also being investigated for breaking the curfew imposed in the area and are also being investigated for immigration offences,’’ he said, adding that they seized the two boats, one 40HP engine, 11 15-litre drums and other personal items.
Esscom hase stepped up patrols in the region after a group of cross border kidnappers who abducted a fishing trawler owner four days ago.
Late Tuesday, six gunmen grabbed Ruslan Nasir Sarapin, 39, the local owner of a fishing trawler in waters off Semporna waters and robbed his crew men, before hitting another fishing boat in Lahad Datu waters as they fled into southern Philippines island chain of Tawi Tawi.
The whereabouts of Ruslan remains unknown as police work towards identifyingthe group responsible for the kidnapping.
In separate operations, Wan Bari said that said that General Operations Force (GOF) from the Lahad Datu Batallion 17 arrested a 25-year-old Suluk man at a house along the coast at Kg Pangkalan in Lahad Datu.
They recovered seven big plastic containers with petrol that authorities believe was being smuggled to the southern Philippines from the suspect.
Semporna Marine police also detained 12 Filipinos in the Pulau Denawan waters between 12 and 59 years and they were investigated for immigration offences.