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East Malaysia, Borneo: Sandakan and Kudat - Theft from Yachts

By David Bowden & Chris White — last modified Mar 04, 2013 05:44 PM

Published: 2013-03-04 14:40:00
Topics: Piracy Reports 2011
Countries: Malaysia

Posted 4 March, 2013

Thefts continue to take place at the Shipyard and hardstand in Kudat, Sabah in Borneo.

Last weekend on Friday, Saturday or Sunday night after a two week absence from the boat, a brand new (as yet unused) Rocna Anchor was stolen from our bow right in front of the yard office under the spotlight. It was obviously a "targeted" theft as nothing else was removed and a pair of pliers were left onboard. "Ironically" the CCT system was not working for just those three nights.

It seems the honour amongst sailors of not stealing another vessels essential equipment is long gone. These anchors are not used by the locals so (we believe) it is a yacht that has taken it or "bought" it from a local thief.  Police and authorities have been informed.

Kudat is a nice little town with many nice people, unfortunately brazen theft is not uncommon, even in supposedly secure areas.

Chris White - Australia

Posted 26 August, 2011

This is report of boardings and theft from yachts in East Malaysia during the month of August 2011. All yachts were taking part in the "Passage to the East" Rally, organised by Sail Malaysia, when broken into in Sandakan on 3 August, however when broken into at Kudat around 21 August, the yachts were returning around the tip of Borneo following the completion of the Rally.

Noonsite would like to thank Dave Bowden for passing on this information.

Over the last 3 weeks (August 2011) a series of thefts have occurred to yachts anchored in Sandakan near the yacht club and off the town of Kudat in Borneo (East Malaysia). In total there have been more than 5 separate boardings over two nights with associated entry to the interior of the yachts and valuable items stolen. In all cases the yacht hatch or door was unlocked and in more than one case the thieves were in the cabin where people were asleep.

No intruder alarms were active on the yachts involved.

Items taken included wallets, money taken from wallets, Iphones, computers and cameras.

On one night the thieves visited several yachts even after being chased off one yacht who did not realise at the time that items had been taken. Police reports were filed but the culprits have not been identified.

I am also aware of break and entry incidents on yachts on the hard at the Kudat slipway earlier this year. It seems that the culprits are often illegal immigrants from the nearby islands (Philippines and Indonesia). The culprit at the Kudat slipway incident was caught and a court case is proceeding.

The lesson being that security is a major concern when cruising these waters and the thieves are quite bold in the way in which they operate.

We had our door shut and have an external proximity alarm system, which may have deterred the thieves at Sandakan who seem to have approached almost every yacht on the one night when the boardings occurred there. Last year we had an outboard motor taken off the dinghy while up on davits in Bintulu River (Borneo) while anchored under the flood lights of the nearby RM Navy jetty - so (as I said above) they are pretty bold. We believe they were local fisherman who also tried the same trick the next night on another yacht.

Dave Bowden

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