Esscom says working with Manila to fight crime in Sabah waters

19-Jun-2014 Intellasia | The Malay Mail Online | 6:00 AM Print This Post

The Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) is bent on working closely with Filipino authorities to tighten security in Sabah waters following the series of abduction and kidnapping cases in recent weeks.

Its director-general, Datuk Mohammad Mentek, said: “The Philippines are in the same predicament as us. Manila has even set up an anti-kidnapping agency but the problem persists.”

This led Esscom to approach Manila to discuss the possibility of the two working together.

“We had a meeting with the Philippine Intelligence Agency (PIA) early last month when we spoke about assets and sharing of intelligence. There will be more of such conversations in the future,” he said.

Mentek said the two organisations agreed to form a joint working committee aimed at preventing criminal activities.

“The process will take time and the results cannot be seen overnight. PIA will send their officers to Sabah to assess the situation and see how we can coordinate,” he said.

Mentek said Esscom also planned to enhance community policing initiated by the police as part of their effort to make Sabah waters safer.

Home minister Datuk Zahid Hamidi had advised Esscom on Monday to work closely with the Philippines and strengthen its intelligence gathering.

He said this following another abduction incident, which took place on Monday morning – the third in the past three months.

Fish farm operator Chan Sai Chun, 32, and his Filipino worker, Mazlan, in his 20s, were taken by at least four gunmen from their farm in Kunak, Tawau, 60km from Lahad Datu.

Sabah CID chief Omar Mammah said police were investigating the possibility of the kidnapping being an inside job.

He said the partners and employees of the fish farm were being questioned.

“Two of the employees are in police custody for not having legal documents but they have been helpful with our investigations,” he said.

“Although they could not provide us with the gunmen’s physical description, they did confirm there were four gunmen involved in the kidnapping.”

Omar also dismissed reports alleging that Mazlan escaped from the kidnappers by jumping off the boat.

“We have not found a single witness who can confirm this report. Mazlan is still missing,” he said.

“We believe he is with the kidnappers and our search still revolves around saving both of them, not just one.”

He said police were looking for others who saw the incident but fled for fear of being arrested.

“We believe some of them may have been working in the country illegally,” Omar said.

He said the gunmen were seen heading towards Alice Reef into the southern Philippines, where they could be hiding.


Category: Malaysia

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