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Ridding Gaya of illegals, structures
Published on: Thursday, April 24, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: After nearly a decade of similar integrated action, the Government has decided to rid the historic island of Pulau Gaya of both illegal immigrants and their structures once and for all.

City Police Chief ACP Jauteh Dikun said structures occupied by illegals in Kg Pondo on the island would be the first to be demolished within a week's notice by City Hall.

"We conducted an integrated Ops Cantas Khas which not only focused on tracing those involved in crime and narcotics, but also to issue notices to these houses.

"Today, City Hall issued notices to 66 houses in Kg Pondo and within this seven days they will conduct documentation on the occupants.

"Houses found to be occupied by illegals will be demolished once the seven days are over," Jauteh stressed.

"We are going through several phases, we will start with 66 houses and from there we will move on to the other houses," he said, adding that there are about 300 houses in the water village.

"The notices were issued on the grounds that these structures are occupied by illegal immigrants believed to be mostly from the Philippines," he said.

The last time that co-ordinated action involving the police, army and DBKK was taken was in 2002 when many illegal structures were demolished and the detained illegals deported in the thousands.

The action was praised by all quarters and resulted in a sharp decline in crimes, including trafficking in contraband and drugs. Pulau Gaya was where the British North Borneo Chartered Company set up base in the late 1880s before moving to the mainland.

The historian Maxwell in his now rare pre-war book called "Makan Siap" meant to familiarise new colonial officers about the territory, detailed aspects of life on the island, including existence of a courthouse .

Meanwhile, five men in their 40s were detained during the Ops Cantas Khas conducted at Kg Pondo, early Wednesday.

ACP Jauteh said three were detained in connection with narcotics cases while two were brought in for involvement in a robbery case as well as having stolen items in their possession.

"The operation's main focus was to trace several individuals involved in drug pushing, criminal cases and those without documents," he told a media conference held at the island.

"We were on the lookout for 10 main targets believed involved in narcotics and crime cases.

However, only five were detained.

The suspects were identified based on information that they were believed to be pushers on the island.

However, no drugs were seized during the operation.

Urine tests were also conducted on 45 people and of this figure, 20 people, including two women, all aged between 20 and 40s, tested positive for drugs.

The remaining 15 people, aged between 16 and 68, including four children aged between one and 12, were handed over to the Immigration Department for investigations under Section 51(5)(b) of the Immigration Act.

More than 400 people were inspected for documentation during the four hour operation which began at 5am, involving 233 personnel from police, Immigration Department, National Registration Department, City Hall and the Civil Defence Department.

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