KOTA KINABALU, (April 15) — Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) director-general, Datuk Mohammad Mentek has given all resort operators in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone) 24 hours to clear out their resorts of illegal immigrants.
Mohammad said failing to comply with the order would result in ESSCom taking action not only against the illegal immigrants but also against the operators for harbouring them.
“If they are employing illegals, I am giving them 24 hours from now to clean up their resorts. When we launch Ops Gasak at the resorts, those still found employing illegals will face action.
“We will also be requesting the licence issuing agency to cancel their business licence. We take a serious view of the matter as analyses on the incidents show that kidnapping was easily carried out. The culprits already knew where they wanted to kidnap and how to enter the resorts.”
Mohammad told this to reporters after a meeting with the resort managers and operators, here, Tuesday.
Also present were ESSCom Defence Division director, Maj. Gen. Datuk Masrani Parman and ESSCom Maritime Enforcement Division director, First Admiral Karunanithi A/L Munusamy.
He said based on the analysis of an earlier kidnapping incident, ESSCom believed there were insiders involved in channelling information to the kidnappers.
Mohammad said ESSCom had to take drastic action as resort managers and operators took the matter lightly.
He said they should not hire illegal immigrants as the background of such workers were unknown.
Mohammad said from now, each resort also had been ordered to send a full list of its workers to ESSCom every three days for security inspection.
“There will be no more tourist boat rides at night or after 6pm with immediate effect.
“Kidnapping may not only occur at the resorts but also on the way to these resorts. We have obtained information that there were several attempted kidnappings involving boats on the way to the resort islands.”
He said the order also covered sea activities at night such as night scuba diving as these could further complicate the enforcement of security measures by the authorities.
Mohammad said ESSCom would also study the activities of local fishermen out fishing at night before making any decision on this.
“ESSCom does not encourage fishing at night as the area is dangerous with the risk of cross-border crime occurring, while fishermen are also known to have been kidnapped in the past,” he added.