With two consecutive kidnapping cases in the waters off Lahad Datu happening within one month, fishermen in the area are feeling anxious for their safety.
Hassanudin Jahunding, 26, said he could only hope that the authority would increase border security control now that the threats were real.
Although worried, he said he had no choice and still needs to go out to sea, as he had been doing for five years, because it is the only source of income for him and the family.
“I hope the security forces would be more alert, particularly along the areas adjacent to neighbouring countries,” he told Bernama when met.
A local daily today reported that the five crew who went missing last Monday from their tugboat which was found abandoned in the waters off Dent Haven, Tambisan, Lahad Datu, had indeed been kidnapped.
The five have been identified as skipper Abd Rahim Summas, 62, from Kampung Tanjung Batu, Tawau; Tayudin Anjut, 45, from Kampung Tanjung Batu Darat, Tawau; Mohd Ridzuan Ismail, 32, from Felda Jengka 7, Bandar Jengka, Pahang; Fandy Bakran, 26, from Kampung Pukat, Tawau; and Mohamad Jumadil Rahim, 23, from Batu 2 Jalan Apas, Tawau.
Not long before that, on July 10, three Indonesian crew of a tugboat were also reported to have been kidnapped in the waters off Lahad Datu.
Another fisherman, Awang Bakulu, 39, said the two kidnapping incidents reflected a serious need for enhanced security in the affected area.
“This is necessary so the criminals do not take opportunity of any loopholes we have in the security control,” he said.
In the meantime, he said, he would continue to follow the curfew order enforced by the police which begins at 7pm and ends at 5am daily, whenever he goes out to the sea.