KOTA KINABALU: Police are on the lookout for three Bajau Laut in connection with the murder of their neighbour who was alleged to have been forcibly snatched from his boat in Semporna district waters.
Semporna police chief Supt Mohd Farhan Lee said the three suspects were being sought in connection with the death of Tendang Sampulatik, 40, whose body was found along the coastline of Pulau Bohey Dulang at about 4.40pm on Saturday (Sept 11).
Supt Farhan said Tendang, who was with his wife, two-year-old son and mother-in-law, were fishing on a boat in waters off Labuan Haji, Semporna, at around 7pm on Thursday (Sept 9).
"The wife told police that a boat with three people on board intentionally rammed into theirs. One of the suspects then beat up Tendang, who fell into the sea.
"The men then pulled Tendang into their boat and sped away in the direction of Pulau Boheyan," he said on Sunday (Sept 12).
Police received a tip-off about a body found at the island on Saturday, he added.
There were signs of knife wounds on Tendang's neck and head but police were waiting for the post-mortem report to confirm the cause of death, Supt Mohd Farhan said.
The three suspects, aged between 40 and 50, were the family's neighbours on Boheyan island and known to them.
"We believe that the murder was motivated by revenge," he said, adding that the trio could have fled to the neighbouring southern Philippines.
He said police were seeking three men known only as Gamal and Robel, both 40, and Alpa, 50, to help in the investigation.
Anyone with information on the case may contact investigating officer Asst Supt Arif Abdul Razak at 088-454464 or inform the nearest police station.
Bajau Laut or Pelahu are mostly undocumented people who live on boats and move between Sabah's east coast waters and the southern Philippines over generations.
In recent years, some have settled along the islands of Sabah and the southern Philippines.