Bangau Bangau water village near where Filipino gunmen landed at a fish farm.
SEMPORNA: A massive hunt is on for seven masked gunmen in Sabah's east coast waters at Semporna after a report that they were spotted at a fish farm in a kidnap attempt, about 200m from Kampung Bangau-Bangau here.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman said a worker from the Ah Chai Fish Farm informed police that the gunmen appeared just after midnight in search of the owners, a Chinese couple from Kelantan.
However, the couple were not living at the fish farm and had moved to the mainland following a spate kidnappings in the Semporna and Lahad Datu areas.
The masked men, who arrived on a blue wooden speedboat, came ashore and pointed a pistol at one of the workers asking for the owners.
Five of them went up to the fish farm while two others waited in the speedboat, said Jalaluddin.
The worker told police that one of the armed men spoke in Malay, but later spoke to him in the Suluk dialect when they realised that he was also a Suluk.
The armed men then went to the worker's house and made off with a television, Astro decoder and two small bags as they could not find the couple.
Semporna district police chief Supt Mazlan Lazim said police were investigating the case and were conducting a search for the gunmen.
"We are working with the marine police, army, and other agencies under the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) in this operation to hunt them," he said.
Supt Mazlan said they were focusing their search around Kampung Bangau-Bangau, Pulau Mataking and surrounding areas.
"Statements are also being recorded from witnesses pertaining to this case now," he said.
In another case in Lahad Datu, two men robbed a plantation owner of his shotgun, bullets and handphone at his oil palm estate.
The owner told police that the robbers hit him on his head with the gun before fleeing in the 3pm incident on Sunday.
Lahad Datu district police chief Supt Samsudin Mat said police were investigating the case.