KOTA KINABALU: The police have confirmed that three crew members of a fishing vessel who were abducted in waters off Pulau Pom Pom, Semporna last night are Filipinos with valid IMM13 documents and census letters from the Special Task Force Unit.
Sabah Police Commissioner Abdul Rashid Harun said Loloi Alpin, 30; Sami, in his 30s; and Masurin, in his 50s, were taken by a group of seven heavily-armed men during a fishing trip with 13 other crew members about 10.40pm.
“During the incident, the seven masked abductors, carrying pistols and high-powered M-16 rifles approached the ship on a speed boat and went onboard.
“They instructed all crew members to lie on the floor…one of the abductors waited on the speed boat.
“The abductors later ransacked the vessel before escaping with suitcases, mobile phones and wallets belonging to the fishermen,” he said in a statement here today.
Abdul Rashid said initial investigations revealed the fishing boat made the trip about 4pm yesterday.
Meanwhile, the Sabah Fisheries and Fishing Boat Joint Association has asked the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) to include fishermen in their ‘protection list’, following the many kidnapping cases involving the group.
Its president, Arsani Arsat said with such a move, Esscom could probably better combat kidnapping cases in Malaysian waters, particularly in the Eastern Sabah Security Zones that cover the districts of Tawau, Semporna, Kunak, Lahad Datu, Kinabatangan, Sandakan and Beluran.
“Fishermen have become a target for kidnappers. If they (Esscom) protect the fishermen, they can catch the kidnappers…because kidnappers have frequently targeted their victims who are obviously not protected,” he told Bernama here today.
Arsani also called on Esscom to step up patrols at least twice in 24 hours, and especially, at night.