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Sleepless nights for Likas residents as thieves get bolder
Published on: Sunday, February 26, 2017
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Kota Kinabalu: Residents in Taman Moo Nee and Taman Cempaka in Likas are having sleepless nights for the past several months following several burglary cases, with the thieves growing audaciously bold with each successful theft.Rosalind Tsang and her husband Steven Sutton said they are getting fed-up of having to lodge police reports each time their house was broken into, adding that since May last year, they have lodged more than 10 reports already.

"I was at the police station so often that the police finally told me to go straight to the Crime Investigation Department (CID) which I did about two months ago. The CID personnel then promised to go to my house to do the investigation himself, but due to bad weather, he cancelled it, promising to come the next day.

"But two months have passed and I still have not heard from him. I called him many times but he didn't respond," she said during a press conference arranged by Parti Warisan Sabah Vice President and Likas Assemblyman Junz Wong, here, Saturday.

She said she and her husband have stayed in the house for more than 18 years but never had to deal with such situation before.

So far, she said, she had lost her six free-range chicken, gas cylinders, cooking stoves, a laptop and many others.

She added that it could be just a coincidence, but the break-ins started after the squatter colony in Kolombong was demolished which led the former residents to move to the nearby squatter colony on the hill nearby the housing areas but hidden from view.

"At first, there were at most 30 squatter homes there. But if you go now, you can see that their number has swollen to more than a hundred. Every weekend we can hear people hammering away, building their homes," she said.

Her husband, meanwhile, said he is more worried that the thieves are becoming emboldened by the fact that little is being done to stop them despite the numerous police reports.

Once, he said, he was taking a shower at noon but forgot to lock the front gate and the main door.

As he left the house immediately after, he made sure the house was all locked up.

"My wife came back around 2pm and that's when these thieves made their breaks.

Apparently, while I was showering, they entered my house through the front door and hid somewhere.

But as I locked them in, they had nowhere to go until my wife came back.

"Luckily nothing happened to her. Just imagine if they felt trapped and became aggressive?

Tragedy might happen," he said.

In fact, he said, just a few nights ago on Feb 21, they lost their gas cylinder despite it was chained.

The thieves even left their equipment behind which include a homemade burner and a screwdriver.

Another resident, Dory Yong, said she had not slept for more than three hours every night for the past few months already, waking up at 1am and keeping vigil until morning.

She said just a few nights ago, the thieves tried to break into her wet kitchen which is protected by grille by sawing the iron bars.

"I was so scared, I immediately called the police. They came almost instantly and the thieves ran away into the hill.

I saw the police turned towards the hill, maybe to try to catch these individuals. But just an hour later, around 3am, they came back and tried again! And again the police had to come," she said.

During the Chinese New Year, she said, her son, the wife and their son were sleeping in the unlocked house when thieves went in and took their handphones, wallets and purse.

Apparently, one of them tried to unlock one of the phones which was installed with an anti-theft app and his face was clearly captured and the photo was automatically emailed to the owner. The photo was forwarded to the police for further action.

"At one time, they stole three of my gas cylinders. They were kind enough to leave one for me.

But they also took my grandson's bicycle. The next morning, I told my gardener to try look for the bicycle.

"And true enough, he found it almost halfway to the squatter colony on the hill. Maybe they decided they cannot sell it, who knows," she said.

Other residents also said they have lost personal items such as shoes and clothes. Anything that were kept outside of the house, has the potential to be stolen.

Almost all the residents in the area, some 30 houses in all, are now banding together to alert each other through WhatsApp group they created to protect themselves.

"Virtually every night around 2am, we will be talking to each other, cautioning them about thieves.

It is getting tiring after a while," she said.

Junz said besides loss of properties, it is just a matter of time that a confrontation might occur and he is afraid that when such time came, bad thing will happen, especially because desperate criminals will always resort to violence when cornered.

"It may not be from the squatter colony but the coincidence is too stark to ignore.

It would do a lot of good for City Hall to consider demolishing this squatter colony, seeing that they have been actively conducting demolition exercises around the city.

"We are not sure whose land it is that these people are squatting on, but I am sure the local authority could find ways to close it," he said. - Tracy Patrick


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