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Filipino illegals here played role in kidnapping: Esscom
Published on: Thursday, September 20, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Filipino illegal immigrants in Sabah are suspected to have helped the kidnappers who abducted two Indonesian fishermen in waters off Semporna on Sept. 11, a top security official said.

Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) Chief Dato' Hazani Ghazali said the agency believes the kidnappers received information from illegal immigrants who had been staying for a long time in the State.

"The illegal immigrants are familiar with the activities of fishermen especially in the east coast of Sabah," Hazani told Daily Express. We believe the kidnappers received inside help, most probably from illegals who came to Sabah from southern Philippines.


"Their informers may be family members who have a sense of loyalty to the kidnappers or the kidnapping group."

Two armed men boarded a fishing vessel anchored off Pulau Gaya in the early hours of Sept. 11 and adducted the boat's skipper and his assistant.

Two other Indonesian crew were spared by the kidnappers after they hid in some compartments upon learning their fishing vessel had been boarded by men wearing face masks.

"We believe the illegal immigrants had assimilated into society and worked in various sectors such as fishery, construction, hotel industry, etc," said Hazani.

"Previous kidnappings in holiday resorts involved illegal immigrants who were employed as hotel (resort) staff. After Esscom was set up, we told hotels not employ illegals and to provide us with lists of their employees, which we go through thoroughly."


Daily Express last week reported a Malaysian security official as confirming that the two fishermen had been taken by their abductors to Talipao in Sulu province, southern Philippines that same day.

Sabah Police Commissioner Dato' Omar Mammah later also confirmed the information that Daily Express had obtained from a Singapore-based regional piracy reporting centre.

The Information Sharing Centre of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against ships in Asia or Recaap had received the information from the Philippine Coast Guard.

Recaap had learnt the kidnappers and their hostages fled in a speedboat towards Tawi-Tawi in southern Philippines.

"We believe their final destination was Talipao in Sulu, an area where the Abu Sayyaf group has previously based its kidnapping-for-ransom operations," Recaap said.


The notorious Abu Sayyaf, designated as an international terror group by the US government, have kidnapped dozens of locals and foreigners from the Sulu-Celebes Seas off eastern Sabah since 2000.

Hazani said it is possible that smaller kidnapping groups work as "sub-contractors" for the Abu Sayyaf.

"They (Abu Sayyaf) would provide these smaller groups with weapons, ammunitions and boats to carry out the act and later pay them for their services.

"The smaller groups would snatch their victims and hand them over to the Abu Sayyaf, who would make the ransom demand."

The ransom money is sometimes shared with an entire village as compensation for the information they share with the kidnapping group, added Hazani. - Zam Yusa

Photo Source: Wikipedia

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