KOTA KINABALU: Sixteen illegal immigrants and seven pump boats were detained in a major marine police sweep in Sabah’s eastern Semporna waters to wipe out fish-bombing activities.
It is a joint operation with the state Fisheries Department at fish markets and the sea area of Semporna, said Region 4 (Sabah) Marine Police commander Asst Comm Mohamad Pajeri Ali.
The operation was to check pump boats (small boats fitted with water pumps as engines) usually used as a sea transport by villagers on the islands and non-citizens in the district that borders southern Philippines.
Authorities seized three unregistered pump boats and four registered boats being used by illegal immigrants in the area, said ACP Pajeri.
The operation comes after the July 5 incident where a local dive instructor and two tourists from China were killed by a blast from a fish bomb at a dive site off Pulau Kalapuan in Semporna.
ACP Pajeri said the authorities also enforced various laws, including the Maritime Shipping Ordinance, during the operation which also checked the Semporna town fish market.
All those arrested and boats seized were taken to the Semporna marine police base.
“We will be continuing our actions to wipe out fish-bombing activities in the Semporna waters,” he said, adding that continuous checks in the market would help reduce the incidents of bombed fish being sold.