Sea gypsies likely abducted for ransom, say police


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah police think that the kidnapping of 10 sea gypsies from waters off Lahad Datu, close to international borders on Tuesday (June 18) was for ransom purposes.

Sabah police chief Datuk Omar Mammah said although those who were kidnapped were not the typical victims, such as tourists or businessmen, the kidnappers could still make the best of their ‘haul’ by making employers pay.

“We have yet to receive any calls from the suspects, so we are not sure about the exact motive of this abduction.

"But we highly suspect it is for ransom,” he said when contacted Wednesday (June 19).

He added that the kidnappers might make the employers pay for the release of their workers.

On whether the kidnap for ransom groups (KFR) had shifted their targets from "more valuable" victims to normal fishermen, Omar said it was hard to say.

“There are a few groups of KFR and for now, those active are targeting fishermen and boat owners,” he said.

It is learnt said the families of those kidnapped had been informed of the 2am incident.

The 10 victims from two fishing vessels were taken at gunpoint.

Both vessels are owned by employers based in Sabah.

Related stories:

10 fishermen feared kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf gunmen off Lahad Datu waters

Sabah cops: All 10 kidnapped are sea gypsies

Why kidnap sea gypsies?