Illegal immigrants believed to be henchmen in kidnapping incidents

23 Jun 2014 / 08:55 H.

    KUALA LUMPUR: Illegal immigrants are believed to be the henchmen of the mastermind behind a kidnapping incidents in the east coast of Sabah.
    Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) intelligence division director Datuk Ahmad Nadzer Nordin said some of those illegal immigrants had even posed as local residents living and working in the coastal areas.
    He said based on the intelligence information, there was a possibility that the kidnappers had entered the state and committed the crime based on the tip-off given by the illegal immigrants.
    "Some of these henchmen are working at the resort, on the farms and fish breeding sites," he told Bernama in a recent interview.
    He said following the information, ESSCom had issued a warning to resort owners, as well as fish breeding entrepreneurs, not to hire foreign workers who did not have valid identification documents.
    Ahmad Nadzer also disclosed that seven kidnapping attempts had been foiled since ESSCom became fully operational. He said in a bid to clean the area from the influx of illegal immigrants, a special operation dubbed 'Ops Gasak' had been launched in 10 areas in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone) areas, including in resort islands.
    "In the operation, which began in March this year, 4,000 people were inspected and 1,500 were found without any documents...we will hand them over to the Immigration Department for deportation to Manila.
    "The integrated operation which involved the police, armed forces, National Registration Department and Immigration Department was also carried out in areas where the residents were said to have no identification documents," he said.
    He said the operation could also be implemented by local authorities across Sabah as the influx of illegal immigrants in the state was worrying.
    Ahmad Nadzer said 14 groups which had been active in kidnapping activities were from southern Philippines with at least four members of the groups had committed the crime in Sabah.
    "We have identified these groups...however, further investigations are required, including the cooperation of the public, as well as the Philippine authorities, to identify members of these groups before they can be arrested," he said.
    This year alone, three kidnapping cases were reported to have occurred in the east coast of Sabah starting on April 2 where a man from China and a Filipino worker were kidnapped in Singamata Adventures Reef and Resort in Semporna by a group of seven armed men.
    A month later (May 6), five gunmen kidnapped another Chinese man, who is a cage fish breeding farm manager in Pulau Baik, Lahad Datu.
    The latest kidnapping incident occurred last Monday when the operator of a cage fish breeding farm and his worker were kidnapped by two armed men on speedboat in Kampung Sapang, west of Pulau Timbun Mata, Kunak. – Bernama

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