LAHAD DATU, (April 4) — Two women, including a Chinese tourist who were abducted by a group of armed men from a floating water resort in Semporna, are in good health and believed to have been brought to the southern Philippines.
Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) director-general Datuk Mohammad Mentek said based on ESSCom’s intelligence, it had identified the location they were being kept as well as the abductors involved.
“One of them is believed to be involved in the kidnapping case in Pom-Pom island, Semporna in November last year while the rest were involved in the kidnapping incident in Sipadan island in 2000.
“Kidnappers out for ransoms are believed to be active and aggressive in southern Philippines,” he said in a statement here today.
Mohammad said Esscom did not rule out the possibility that locals, who were originally from the Philippines, were involved in providing information to the group that committed the abduction at the floating water resort.
Yesterday, Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib was quoted as saying that a female Chinese tourist and a female resort worker from the Philippines were abducted from the Singamata Adventures Reef and Resort by a group of seven armed men about 10.30 pm on Wednesday.
The Chinese woman, who is also a student, was identified as Gao Hua Yuan, 29, from Shanghai while the 40-year-old Filipina worker was identified as Marcy Dayawan or Mimi.
The 60-room resort which has been in operation for over 10 years is located about two nautical miles from Semporna town.
Mohammad said last March 26, an ESSCom security patrol detected five boats, which were suspected to have attempted to enter Semporna waters to kidnap their victims.
“However, due to the preparedness and patrols launched by ESSCom, we succeeded in preventing four boats from carrying out their intention,” he said.
Meanwhile, 15 foreign workers at Singamata Adventures Reef and Resort were arrested for not possessing any valid identification documents.
Mohammad also urged the Immigration Department to call up and investigate the resort operator who was said to have employed these foreign workers.
He warned that stern action, including bringing them to court, would be taken against any employer or resort operator who took in or employed any foreign worker who did not have valid documents.
“Despite repeated reminders being issued, including during the recent meeting with Sabah tourism centres or resort operators, many still refuse to comply. So we will not compromise in this matter anymore,” he said. — BERNAMA