Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman said the curfew extension which entered its fourth phase (Phase IV Curfew) was based on four factors.
They were to prevent intrusion/kidnapping, as well as attempts to threaten the safety of fishermen; to prevent smuggling activities involving fuel, cooking oil, taxable items and drugs; support tourism and cage fish operators and build tourist confidence; and, facilitate the authorities in taking the necessary action in the area.
“The curfew imposed on the waters off six districts in ESSZone has curbed human trafficking activities, especially the entry of illegal immigrants with almost 80 per cent of illegal human entry crippled,” he told a media conference in Kota Kinabalu, Wednesday.
According to the law, the commissioner of police has the power to declare curfew for one day, while the home minister could declare curfew for 14 days.
Jalaluddin said under the Phase III Curfew which ended yesterday, 92 arrests were made involving 23 cases for breaking the curfew under Section 31 (2) of the Police Act 1967 and 12 cases under the Immigration Act.
He said 20 people had been charged and sentenced to 10 days’ jail and fined RM500 each while the remaining suspects were still held under remand. Sixteen others were released.
Under Phase I, curfew was imposed in eastern Sabah waters from Tg Pundaras, Sandakan to the Tawau jetty from 6pm to 6am, following an armed group attack on two marine policemen in Pulau Mabul, Semporna on July 12.
Following that, Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) commander Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun announced a Phase II Curfew from Aug 3 to 18.
Jalaluddin later announced the curfew was extended from Aug 19 to Sept 2, from 7pm to 5am.
The curfew covered six districts in ESSZone, namely Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Kunak, Semporna and Tawau.
It also covered the waters, three nautical miles from the shore of Sandakan through Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Semporna to the Tawau jetty over a distance of 362 nautical miles and encompassing an area 121,270 sq nautical miles.–BERNAMA