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Sunday, August 7, 2016

Cops puzzled over 'kidnapping' claim

SANDAKAN - Police have confirmed receiving a report over the alleged kidnapping of an Indonesian skipper of a trawler boat who was taken hostage by a group of armed men in Kertam waters, off Kuala Kinabatangan, Sandakan.

State Police Commissioner Datuk Abd Rashid Harun (pic) said the incident was reported by the boat's two crew who said their skipper was abducted while fishing on Wednesday. He said police are still investigating the claims made by the duo that a ransom of RM10,000 had been made for the release of their friend.

"State Criminal Investigations Department Chief Datuk Salehhudin Abdul Rahman is now in Sandakan to investigate the case thoroughly," he told a media conference, Saturday.

The Indonesian skipper has been identified as 30-year-old Herman Mangga, and his two crew, 22-year-old Arianto Basruddin, also an Indonesian and 26-year-old local Muhamadin Duratin.

Abd Rashid said detailed investigations are being done to verify the incident, adding that there were suspicious elements in the case which is said to have taken place in Malaysian waters.

He said there was no evidence of the incident taking place in Malaysian waters for now because the boat is not equipped with the Automatic Tracking System and was only reported two days later.

He said based on the statements taken from the two crew, they were trawling in Malaysian waters at about 4pm on Aug 3, after coming down from Sandakan waters at about 6.30am on July 31. "They were approached by a pump boat with four men, three of them armed on board.

"The gunmen approached their boat and towed their boat to an island in the Philippines before ordering the two crew to return after equipping them with a Global Positioning System," he said.

Abd Rashid said the two crew related the incident to a friend before alerting the General Operations Force in Sandakan for further action.

The duo also said that the kidnappers demanded RM10,000 as ransom to secure the release of the skipper who is also their friend.

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