8 men held in connection with kidnapping of sea gypsies off Sabah

CID director Huzir Mohamed (left). (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Eight men have been arrested to help in an investigation into the kidnapping of 10 Bajau Laut fishermen (sea gypsies) in Felda waters in Lahad Datu, Sabah, yesterday, said CID director Huzir Mohamed.

He said six of those arrested are foreigners, aged between 17 and 60, who were spared by the armed kidnappers yesterday.

“The two locals arrested are the boat owner and the boat operator,” he told Bernama when contacted today.

Meanwhile, Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador said the boats should not have been in the country’s territorial waters at night.

“They (fishermen) should know that the area is under curfew and is out of bounds.

“There should be no entry unless they inform the authorities on the details of their activities,” he told Bernama when met at the armed forces Aidilfitri celebration at Wisma Perwira ATM here today.

In the 2am incident yesterday, the 10 fishermen were reportedly kidnapped by an Abu Sayyaf-linked armed group from two boats in Lahad Datu waters while on their way to Semporna.

They are believed to have been taken to Pulau Sitangkai in southern Philippines, about 15 minutes’ journey from Tambisan waters in Lahad Datu.

The victims, aged between 17 and 60, did not have personal identification documents and only possessed the lepa-lepa document issued to nomadic fishermen.