SANDAKAN: Trade between Sandakan and Taganak island in Philippines has come to a virtual halt after the Sunday night kidnapping of three crew members of East Ocean 2 in the Sulu Sea.
The fishermen of the island near where the attack took place have been unable to ply their trade as security forces on both sides of the border hunt for the group of gunmen and their three captives.
Taganak is half an hour away from this Sabah east coast town and the residents there have been supplying marine products, including fish and turtle eggs, to the local market and buying sundry goods such as rice and sugar in return.
According to a Filipino from Taganak, the security forces on both sides of the border were keeping close tabs on the area and most of those who plied the route were finding it difficult to cross the borders.
“We get our rice and other things from Sandakan as Zamboanga City is too far away,” said the Filipino who did not want to be identified.
Sandakan Fishing and Tongkang Association chairman Sheak Chee Chew said not many of his members were going out to sea after the kidnapping.
“We are afraid,” said Sheak, adding that in the past year incidents of piracy and robberies had declined because of security measures taken by the Malaysian military and police.
Sheak added that in the eyes of the fishing community there was no international waterway between Sabah and southern Philippines.
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