KOTA KINABALU: The 10 people who were abducted from waters off Lahad Datu early Tuesday (June 18) are sea gypsies who have have been living in Sabah for decades, says Sabah police commissioner Datuk Omar Mammah.
He said the 10 comprise sea gypsies and those with a lepa-lepa letter (a letter signed by village chiefs to confirm that they are from a certain village).
He said the victims, aged between 17 and 60 were taken from two fishing vessels at about 2am.
"We have yet to receive any calls for asking for a ransom or anything else from anyone," Omar said.
He said he also have to check the authenticity of the information on the lepa-lepa letters as these were issued sometime in the 70s.
"If these people really have the lepa-lepa letters, we want to find out where they got them," Omar added.
He also did not know the motive behind the abductions the hostages lived most of their lives at sea.
Omar added that the suspects have yet to make any calls.
It was learnt that the two fishing boats were sailing without a permit during curfew hours when gunmen struck.
The remaining six fishermen, were rescued by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), claimed they were heading to Semporna to renew their permits.