Armed group fails to kidnap cage-fish farmer in Semporna

KOTA KINABALU: An attempt by seven armed men to abduct a cage-fish farmer off Bangau-Bangau Island, Semporna, early yesterday failed because the entrepreneur was not at his farm.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman said a worker of the farm alerted the marine police on the incident at 1am.

“An armed group of seven men failed in its attempt to abduct a fish farm operator off Bangau-Bangau Island because he was not at his farm early this morning.

“Six of them were masked and armed with long machetes while one was without a mask and carried a pistol. They had come in a blue speedboat with a 200hp engine,” he said in a statement.

Jalaluddin said the marine police and Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) had directed cage-fish operators to leave their fish farms and spend the night in Semporna town to avoid abduction.

“We have sent seven boats to track down the speedboat in the waters off Bangau-Bangau Island, Mataking and the nearby islands,” he said.

Jalaluddin said the abductors only took televisions, Astro decoders, some equipment and appliances from the farm.

He said ESSCom operations director Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun was coordinating efforts with related agencies, including the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA). He also said the police had detained eight employees of fish farms, aged 14 to 43 years, who were found to have no valid travel documents. Two of them were women.

“The arrest of all the Filipino workers were also for investigation into the failed abduction,” he said.

Jalaluddin, however, could not confirm whether the abductors were still in Malaysian waters, but he said security in certain villages in Semporna were being tightened. — Bernama

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