Noonsite.com recently filed the report below, which they received from Dave Bowden of s/v This Way Up:
Over the last three weeks, 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 five 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, whose owners did not realize 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.