Malaysian security forces at the resort. - Reuters
SEMPORNA: Malaysian security forces have launched a massive hunt along the sea borders with southern Philippines for gunmen who grabbed two women - a tourist from China and a Filipino resort worker - from a resort off Semporna on Wednesday.
Security officials confirmed that they're checking all possible escape routes of the gunmen who snatched 29-year-old Gao Hua Yuan, 29, from Shanghai, China and Filipino resort worker Marcy Dayawan @ Mimi from the Singamata Reef Resort at around 10.30pm on Wednesday.
Immediate cut off operations were launched by security forces with counterparts in southern Philippines also alerted.
Sources told The Star that security forces on both sides of the border have, however, yet to receive word of any sightings of the group.
It is believed that the gunmen managed to slip away under the cover of darkness to the island chain of Tawi Tawi in southern Philippines.
Wednesday's kidnapping came a day after the first year anniversary of the setting up of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) following the intrusion of Kg Tanduo in Felda Sahabat 17 in Lahad Datu in Feb last year.
A similar styled kidnapping to Wednesday's incident occurred on Nov 15 last year at Pom Pom Island Resort in Semporna in which Taiwanese businessman Li Min Shu, 58, was killed and his wife Chang An Wei, 57, abducted by gunmen.
Chang was subsequently released 36 days later for an unknown ransom paid via negotiations with the gunmen who held her in the Abu Sayaff stronghold of Jolo in the southern Philippines.