KOTA KINABALU: Kidnappers prowling Sabah’s waters especially in the east coast are no longer concerned about not getting high-value victims, says Comm Datuk Omar Mammah.
The Sabah Commissioner of Police said this could be due to the increased presence of security forces and sea curfew in the area.
“They are now targeting fishermen and boat owners because their intention is to make employers pay for the release of their workers,” he said yesterday.
“With regards to the latest incident, we have yet to receive any calls from the kidnappers, so we are not sure of their motive though we highly suspect it is for ransom,” he added.
On Tuesday, Abu-Sayyaf-linked gunmen kidnapped 10 crewmen from two fishing boats in
Tabisan waters off Lahad Datu close to the Tawi-Tawi island chain in southern Philippines.
The victims, reportedly are sea gypsies who carry little or no “monetary value”, with regard to ransom.
The fishing boats are owned by a Sabah-based businessman.
This is the second highest number of hostages in almost two decades since the 2000 Sipadan kidnapping of 21 Malaysians and foreigners.
Comm Omar said it was hard to confirm whether the kidnap for ransom (KFR) groups have shifted their targets from more valuable victims to ordinary fishermen.
“There are a few groups of KFR,” he said adding that for now
“those who are active are targeting fishermen and boat owners,” he said.