4 Malaysian Crewmen Kidnapped By Filipino Gunmen In Sabah. Here's What We Know So Far

The gunmen are suspected to be members of the Abu Sayyaf group.

Four Malaysians have been kidnapped by a group of eight armed men in the waters of Semporna, Sabah while returning to Malaysia from the Philippines on Friday night, 1 April, according to Miri police

The four, who are from Sarawak, have been identified as Wong Teck Pang, 31, Wong Hung Song, 34, Wong Teck Chi, 29, and Johnny Lau Jung Hien, 21, according to The Borneo Post.

The incident occurred at 7pm near Ligitan Island, Semporna. The ship’s owner filed a police report at the Miri Central police station at 12am. They were working onboard the ship registered as MV MASFIVE 6 which had transported timber from Malaysia to Manila in the Philippines, Miri police chief ACP Junaidi Bujang told Bernama.

"The incident occurred near Pulau Ligitan, Semporna and the ship did not carry any cargo at the time of the incident," he told Bernama, adding that other foreign crew members - three Myanmar and two Indonesians - were left unharmed.

A file photo of ACP Junaidi Bujang.

Image via Bernama

Police are trying to ascertain whether the kidnapping occurred in Malaysian waters off Pulau Ligitan near the east coast Semporna, as Sabah Police Commissioner Abdul Rashid Harun said he was unsure whether it occurred in Malaysian waters or the Philippines

During a press conference in Kota Kinabalu on Saturday, 2 April, Harun said that initial reports received from five of the released crewmen only proved that the kidnapping happened in waters off Ligitan that borders the Philippines. "We are not certain that the incident happened in our waters so we need to find out first," he added.

The Sabah Police Commissioner was quoted by The Star as saying:

“These criminals no longer choose their victims, they will take just about anyone as long as it’s easy for them to grab and leave.”


Image via The Star Online

The Philippines Inquirer quoted a military source saying that the armed men, who spoke broken English, declared they were members of the Abu Sayyaf and requested the victims to go with them, also taking with them a laptop, cash and the mobile phones

Security forces are seen patrolling Semporna waters.

Image via Julia Chan/The Malay Mail

So far no reports of ransom have been made by the kidnappers.

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