MALACCA: Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has identified Sepang coastline as a hotspot for illegal landing and human trafficking activities due the topography of the site that is filled with mangroves and estates.
The other factor that MMEA enforcement - based in Kuala Linggi - noted was the proximity of Pulau Rupat in Sumatera and Sepang, approximately 32 nautical miles (64km) that made it easy for encroachment.
MMEA Kuala Linggi’s district maritime enforcement chief Capt Abu Bakar Idris said the Sepang coastline is also filled with oil-palm estates and illegal immigrants could vanish into these unlit laterite track in the dark.
“Previously, the shoreline of Malacca was the top landing spot in this region but now were are keeping vigil on Sepang,” he said in an interview on Tuesday.
He said skippers of boats used to ferry illegal were also clever in avoiding radar by cruising at low speed just like pace of a fishing trawlers upon reaching the Sepang coast to evade Bukit Jugra maritime radar in Selangor.
“Furthermore, the distance between Sepang coasts and International nautical border is just 20 minutes away and skipper would sped-off to the border upon seeing enforcement boat to avoid arrest,” he said.
Capt Abu Bakar revealed this piece of information after his men successfully foiled a human trafficking attempt after a mid-sea drama and arrested four foreigners including a woman.
MMEA Kuala Linggi’s district maritime enforcement chief Abu Bakar Idris said in the 8pm incident on Monday occurred off the Kuala Sepang Besar shores where his team was alerted on the encroachment of a boat from Indonesian waters.
“My men flagged the skipper to pull over but he sped-off, resulting in a high speed chase between my men onboard of enforcement “Petir 84” and the illegal boat that lasted for almost 20 minutes.
“Some 13 of the passengers dived into the sea and swam to the beaches before escaping into nearby swamp,” he said.
Abu Bakar said the three Bangladeshi men and Indonesian women were arrested at site while 13 others were believed to have fled into the unlit swamp area.
He said those detained were aged between 20 and 29 years and were attempting to enter the country in search of employment.
Abu Bakar said the Bangladeshi men were from Dhaka while the woman was from Timor Timur, Indonesia.
The Bangladeshis, he noted, possessed passports that were still valid, while the Indonesian failed to produce her passport as it was believed that her belongings had been taken by the agent.
“The Bangladeshis later confessed that they had used air route from Dhaka to Singapore and later to Jakarta before making a journey overland to Dumai for an illegal boat trip to Malaysia,” he said.
Abu Bakar also noted the fibreglass boat was without any registration licence had stored two drums filled with 100 litters petrol supply.
He said an inspection on the boat by MMEA officials found two 200-horse power Yamaha engines and the items seized were suspected to be used for smuggling activities while those detained were being investigated according to the Immigration Act 1959/63 for entering Malaysia illegally.
He added that the four and the escapees had embarked on the journey from Dumai, Indonesia at 5pm and scheduled reach Malaysian shores between three and four hours.