Past Events

Read up about past events that has ever happened in Borneo.

Past Events

1. 2016 Events

2016 was the turning point for kidnapping in the Sipadan area of Sabah. The successful ambush and elimination of kidnappers by the marine police on 8 December 2016 marked the last attempted kidnapping from waters close to Sabah. A summary of kidnap attempts and the final attempt is as follows.

  • 8 December 2016 - Three suspected kidnappers were killed in a firefight with police and a further three were apprehended during a kidnap attempt in Merabung offshore from Lahad Datu
  • 19 November 2016 - Two Indonesian fishermen were kidnapped in waters of Merabung near Lahad Datu
  • 5 November 2016 - Two Indonesian fishermen were kidnapped in waters of Kertam
  • 28 September 2016 - A local boat owner was kidnapped from in the ocean off Semporna
  • 10 September 2016 - Three people on fishing boat kidnapped off Malaysia: Official.
  • 3 August 2016 - One Indonesian sailor was kidnapped but 2 of his crew were left unharmed in Malaysian waters. He was released on 22 September 2016.
  • 9 July 2016 - Three Indonesian fishermen were kidnapped off the south-eastern coast of Sabah before midnight. They were offshore fishing in Malaysian waters when they were intercepted and taken. The three Indonesian fishermen were released on 17 September 2016.

2. 2015 Events

2015 was a very eventful year for Borneo, in particular Sabah: the 5.9 magnitude earthquake that claimed the lives of 18 people on the summit of Mount Kinabalu and the kidnapping of two local Malaysians in the east coast area. Since then, the Mount Kinabalu climbing trail has been reopened, albeit now only limited to the Timpohon Gate trail, and no further kidnapping / safety incidences have affected Sabah.

While no tour operator or government can provide a 100% guarantee of safety for visitors, we can offer some compelling assurances that it is generally safe to travel to/within Sabah. Recent incidents have led law enforcement agencies to increase and take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of the people and visitors.

There is a general threat in the east coast of Sabah due to its close proximity to the Sulu archipelago in the southern Philippines. All travels to islands, dive sites and associated tourist facilities will have a certain level of risk. That said, the safety and well-being of our guests is our top priority and we take necessary measures to ensure all of our tours are run safely by avoiding crowded public places and areas vulnerable to intrusions. We would also like to remind and advise our guests to exercise normal safety precautions when travelling along the east coast and within Borneo.

Safety measures by Borneo Eco Tours and Law Enforcement Agencies in Sandakan:

  • The ESSCOM (Eastern Sabah Security Command) oversees the security stretching from Kudat in the far north to the entire east coast including Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Semporna and Tawau. Dusk to dawn curfew are strictly enforced out at sea to ensure the safety of all guests.
  • The jetty where our guests embark and disembark is situated between the ESSCOM and the Police Marine Base.
  • 24 Hour air (helicopter) and sea (speed boats) surveillance.
  • Army bases are set up at the mouth of Kinabatangan River in Mumiang Village (first 30 minutes boat ride to Sukau), Abai Village (another 30 minutes) and at Sukau.
  • All our open sea speedboats are equipped with long range radio communication equipment including walkie-talkie coverage that can be received by Sandakan and Sukau Rainforest Lodge offices during the entire boat ride.

Safety measures by Borneo Eco Tours and Law Enforcement Agencies in Sukau:

  • A police station is situated 5 minutes away from Sukau Rainforest Lodge. It has six military personnel attached to the station.
  • Daily river patrols are conducted by the military attachment.
  • Sukau Rainforest Lodge is located 1.5 hours away from the river-mouth heading towards the sea.
  • There is another police station situated 45 minutes away (Kota Kinabatangan) from Sukau Rainforest Lodge by land.
  • Almost daily roadblocks are conducted. All vehicles are stopped and inspected.
  • We have members of The People’s Volunteer Corps (RELA) working at the lodge – Mr. Jamri on day shift and Mr. Shahrin on night shift.
  • Sukau Rainforest Lodge admin and operation staff are connected 24-hour via phone (Whatsapp) to all security forces, where daily security updates and warning are communicated. A 24-hour communication by long range radio is also kept with our office in Sandakan.

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