Malaysian crew thought kidnappers were security officials
KOTA KINABALU — The crew of MV Masfive 6 did not think anything was amiss when four armed men boarded their vessel as they were cruising in the Celebes Sea from Manila to Tawau.
As the four men dressed in black uniform rounded them up, they figured it was just a routine check by maritime security officials.
They least thought that they were at the mercy of some notorious Filipino kidnap-for-ransom gang.
It is learned that only when the kidnappers spoke in a mix of English and Tagalog (a Filipino dialect) that the crew realized the men in black were not Malaysian security personnel but kidnappers.
One of the gunmen then demanded to know their nationalities before taking off with the four Malaysians in their speedboat where four other gunmen were waiting.
The incident took place at about 6:15 pm on Friday, the crew members said, and they also saw the armed men grab a laptop and handphones before fleeing north towards Philippines.
The tugboat had delivered a cargo of timber to Manila from Tarakan in Indonesia. The boat left the Philippine capital on March 27 and was on its leg back to Tawau with no cargo.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun said that the police were interviewing the crewmen and had also deployed assets to the Ligitan area and added none of the freed crew members were hurt.
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