Malaysia

Esscom team in southern Philippines to help free Chinese tourist – Bernama

The Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) has sent a team of officers to southern Philippines to assist that country's security authorities in releasing the Chinese tourist who was abducted by a group of armed men in Singamata Adventures and Reef Resort early this month.

Its director-general Datuk Mohammad Mentek (pic) said Esscom officers had held discussions with the Filipino intelligence to find the best way to release the female tourist.

On the ransom of RM36.4 million (US$11 million) to release the Chinese tourist, Mohammad said, there was no official claims from the abductors so far.

"Maybe there are other parties that are demanding ransoms," he told a news conference at the lobby of the Sabah state legislative assembly building in Kota Kinabalu today.

Last April 2 at about 10.30 pm, Gao Hua Yuan, 29, a female tourist from Shanghai, and Filipina resort worker, Marcy Dayawan, 40, were abducted from the Singamata Adventures and Reef Resort by a group of seven armed men.

Mohammad reiterated that Esscom had never appointed certain individuals to represent it to have negotiations to release the Chinese national.

Meanwhile, he said Esscom planned to introduce a standard operating procedure (SOP) to be adopted by companies that proposed to set up resorts in the state.  

He said Esscom would discuss the SOP at a meeting with the resort operators under the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) tomorrow.

The SOP will incorporate all security aspects that were discussed in a workshop that was held in Sandakan two months ago and attended by resort operators, police, customs and other relevant agencies.   

"We are trying our best to ensure the security level in the Esszone is constantly safe despite the disappointment of this recent abduction incident," he said.

Mohammad also clarified that four of the identified suspects, who were involved in the abduction, had settled in Semporna without any valid travel documents.

Three of the four suspects were also believed to be involved in goods smuggling activities to the southern Philippines while another one allegedly worked in Semporna town, he said.

He said the Esscom Intelligence division had also detected five boats trying to enter the country's waters to carry out abductions for ransom in the Semporna district since last March 19.

However, he said, the security forces managed to intercept the entry of four of the boats and only one got away in entering Malaysian waters to carry out the crime in Singamata Resort. – Bernama, April 14, 2014

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