Kidnappers contacted victim’s family member, say Sabah cops

Sabah police commissioner Omar Mammah (third from right) showing some of the smuggled medicines seized by police.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah police said the kidnapping group that snatched three men in Tambisan waters off Lahad Datu last month had contacted family members of one of the victims.

Sabah police commissioner Omar Mammah said the group had demanded a ransom for the release of the victims, but police have not been informed of the amount of money demanded.

“Family members of the Indonesian were contacted by the kidnap-for-ransom group two days after the three men were abducted. However, we were not informed of the amount of ransom the group demanded.

“Additionally, the same group also tried to contact the men’s employer, possibly to also extort ransom money.

“We will contact the relevant authorities in our neighbouring countries to further discuss the matter,” he said at a press conference held here today.

The three Indonesian fishermen, Maharudin Lunani, 48 and his son and nephew, Muhammad Farhan, 27 and Samiun Maneu, 27, were kidnapped by an armed group of seven men travelling in a pump boat.

The victims were catching shrimps at the Tambisan waters near Lahad Datu at the time.

Security enforcement forces believe the kidnappers escaped with their victims back to Tawi-Tawi island in the southern Philippines.

Smuggling medicines

Meanwhile, Sabah police have arrested 12 individuals, including a local woman, and seized hundreds of packets of medicines worth RM15.6 million believed to have been smuggled in from China.

The arrests and seizure were carried out by police last Sunday at an unnamed warehouse in Sri Kemajuan, Inanam, near here.

Omar credited the success of the operation to the tip-off from the public as well as police intelligence.

“During the 11am raid, the owner of the premises failed to produce the licences and documents, including tax declaration and approval letters from the health ministry.

“As a result, 12 individuals, including a woman, aged between 21 and 65, were detained.

“Police seized 398 boxes containing 240,000 bottles of various types of medicines believed to have been brought into the state without approval from the health ministry,” he said.

Omar said investigation revealed all the items were brought in through Sarawak before being distributed to the district and other neighbouring districts.

“Each bottle is priced at RM10 and the total value of the seizure is about RM15.6 million.

“Police also seized two lorries and a van believed to have been used to transport the medicines and also cash of RM9,205,” he said.

All the suspects have been remanded for seven days until this Sunday to facilitate investigations.