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Joint ops in Sabah net 4,864 illegal immigrants in six months

The Esszone area is vast, stretching from Kudat to Tawau.

The Esszone area is vast, stretching from Kudat to Tawau.

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Written by Syndicated News

KOTA MARUDU — July 1, 2015: A total of 4,864 illegal immigrants were arrested in joint operations coordinated by the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) from last January 2 to June 25.

The highest number of arrests was recorded in Tawau (1,671), followed by Sandakan (976), Semporna (858), Lahad Datu (676), Kunak (371) and Kudat (312).

“The joint operations, involving state and federal enforcement agencies, are part of drastic government measures to address the illegal immigrant problem in Sabah, particularly in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone),” said Esscom Operations Centre director Brig Gen Datuk Roslan Ismail at a breaking-of-fast reception at Kampung Marudu Laut last night.

The joint operations were also effective in reviving the dominance of local small traders and hawkers in wet markets while reducing smuggling.

Roslan said the integrated operations would be extended to other areas to rid the Esszone of illegal immigrants.

Esscom deputy director (intelligence) ACP Hashim Justin said the agency was doing its best to curb cross-border crimes, particularly kidnapping
in the Esszone.

He regretted that certain parties continued to belittle the efforts and role of Esscom following the kidnapping at the Ocean King Seafood Restaurant in
Sandakan on May 14.

“They think the 150 Esscom security forces are not serious in guarding Esszone waters. We are doing our best to secure the vast area which spans from Kudat to Tawau.

“As a native of Beaufort/Ranau, I do not want kidnappings to occur in Esszone. The public must understand that the kidnappings are masterminded by insiders or illegal immigrants in Sabah.

“It is not easy to resolve this problem using conventional methods without the involvement of all stakeholders, including the local community in Esszone.” — Bernama

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