KOTA KINABALU: Police are trying to ascertain whether the kidnap of four Sarawakian crewmen occurred in Malaysian waters off Pulau Ligitan near the east coast Semporna.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun (pic) said initial reports received from five of the released crewmen only proved that the incident happened in waters off Ligitan that borders the Philippines.
“We are not certain that the incident happened in our waters so we need to find out first,” he said during a press conference here on Saturday.
He said there were enough assets at the Ligitan area and they were interviewing the released crewmen consisting of Indonesian and Myanmar nationals for more information on the incident that occurred at about 7pm Friday.
Rashid said based on the recent modus operandi and reports of attempted entry and kidnappings, it was clear that the criminals were changing their way of operations and were going for easy targets.
“These criminals no longer choose their victims, they will take just about anyone as long as it’s easy for them to grab and leave,” he said, adding the four Malaysians have been identified as Wong Teck Kang, 31, Wong Hung Sing, 34, Wong Teck Chii, 29, and Johnny Lau Jung Hien, 21.
Initial investigations stated that eight Filipino gunmen in a speedboat jumped on board the Malaysian registered vessel, MV MASFIVE 6, which was sailing near the Ligitan Island and held them at gunpoint before forcing them to disembark.
The speedboat with the four Malaysian hostages and the gunmen were seen speeding towards Filipino waters.
The other foreign crewmembers - three Myanmar and two Indonesians - were left unharmed. They immediately went to the Tawau police station to lodge a police report.
No reports of ransom have been made so far.