Over 3,000 illegals held in op

  • Nation
  • Monday, 09 Jun 2003

KOTA KINABALU: Over 10,000 people have been screened 10 days into the fourth phase of the statewide all-out war against illegal immigrants and squatters. 

Vowing to continue until they reached “zero illegal immigrant” level, the police, army and other enforcement agencies involved in the integrated operation, codenamed Ops Nyah II Bersepadu, had so far netted 3,152 illegal immigrants up till yesterday. 

According to police statistics on the operation's fourth phase, which began on May 29, 10,884 foreigners were screened, of which 2,576 were Filipinos, 559 Indonesians and 17 people of other nationalities who did not possess proper travel documents. 

“We are in full gear. Our operations have intensified to flush out illegal immigrants statewide,” Sabah deputy police commissioner Datuk SAC I Illyas Ibrahim said. 

So far, the operation was moving smoothly and efforts by the federal Special Task Force overseeing illegal immigrants in Sabah to deport illegals to their respective countries were under way, he said. 

“The task force is making arrangements for them to be deported twice weekly,” he said. 

Asked if they had come across anyone linked to Jemaah Islamiah or Abu Sayyaff militant groups, Illyas said they had not encountered any so far but they would still be on the lookout. 

CAUGHT: Police escorting a group of illegal immigrants rounded up during the fourth phase of Ops Nyah II Bersepadu at Pulau Gaya, off Kota Kinabalu Sunday. The round-up was part of a statewide operation against illegals.

He said security forces on Sabah’s east coast borders and in neighbouring southern Philippines were maintaining heightened patrols to check for illegal immigrants trying to sneak into the state. 

The operations so far also saw the demolition of 413 illegal squatter houses occupied by illegal immigrants statewide. 

Ops Nyah II Bersepadu was first launched in February last year, when security forces targeted illegal immigrants in squatter areas at coastal and riverine areas. 

This was followed by the operation's second phase in the state's interior areas. 

The third phase involved police acting as and when necessary within their districts. 

The current fourth phase saw the operations moving back towards a simultaneous statewide crackdown. 

Over 20,000 illegal immigrants were sent back during earlier phases of the operations, though police believed some of them had slipped back into the state in recent months.  

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