Zahid: Fishermen may have been taken for ransom

zahidKUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi believes the kidnapping incident involving three fishing boat crew members at Pom Pom Island in Semporna last night was a case of ‘kidnap for ransom’.

Zahid said the group involved in the kidnapping incident was believed to be based in the Philippines islands close to Malaysia.

“Though the area is under surveillance, they move about below the detection of the radar. I have contacted the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom)and Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency to monitor the entire 1,700km perimeter of the Eastern Sabah Security Zone,” he said.

The Deputy Prime Minister was speaking to reporters after opening the Parti Makkal Sakti Malaysia’s eighth Annual General Meeting, here today.

Zahid who is also the Home Minister said the three crew members were not Malaysian citizens but permanent residents.

He said the authorities would continue to work with the Philippines.

Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, the Inspector-General of Police, Khalid Abu Bakar, and he have already discussed the matter with their respective counterparts, Zahid said.

The skipper and two fishermen, believed to be Filipino Bajau, were among  11-crew of a fishing trawler that were kidnapped by a group at the Pom Pom Island in Semporna, last night. ESSCom commissioner Wan Abdul Bari Wan Abdul Khalid when contacted said a report was received at 1.59am.