Teenager nabbed with over 10,000 detonators in waters off Sabah

KOTA KINABALU - An undocumented teenager with more than 10,000 detonators was nabbed on his way towards Philippine waters from Lahad Datu in Sabah on Tuesday (May 8) afternoon.

Joint Forces Task Force commander Brigadier Jen Zarondin Md Amin said the teenager was caught at about 12.15pm, reported The Star online.

"A team of Navy personnel were conducting patrols around the area when they saw a pump boat heading out towards Filipino waters," he said in a statement according to The Star.

He said the team intercepted the pump boat and found the 18-year-old suspect with 89 boxes of detonators.

He said the substances could be used as explosives if mixed with other chemicals.

The boat, detonators and the teenager have been handed over to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) in Lahad Datu for further action.

The seas off Sabah's eastern coast are notorious for kidnappings and militancy, although security has improved since the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) was set up in 2013 to reverse a spiral into anarchy along the porous 1,700km coastline and the waters facing the Philippines.

That year, in February, 200 Islamist militants from the southern Philippines laid seige to Lahad Datu, inspired by a supposed sultan's claims of historical dominion over Sabah.

In 2015, gunmen from the Abu Sayyaf militant group went ashore to a Sandakan restaurant and grabbed two people, one of whom was later beheaded.

In 2016, there were 10 cases of kidnappings, eight of which involved fishing vessels.