Malaysia searches for shooters, hostage
KOTA KINABALU A search for two gunmen and a hostage is underway following a gunfight on Thursday in the sea off Semporna in the Malaysian state of Sabah.
Three kidnappers were killed and two others arrested in the incident.
The police's Tiger Platoon team managed to rescue one kidnap victim, while a lance corporal, who was shot in the foot, is recovering in hospital.
Sabah Police Commissioner Abdul Rashid Harun said the armed group, made up of seven people in a speedboat, had approached a fishing trawler in the waters at 9pm on Thursday.
He said the men, who had four rifles and one pistol, clambered on board the trawler and robbed the fishermen of valuables, including mobile phones and food, before kidnapping the boat's skipper.
Mr Abdul Rashid said the skipper holds an IMM 13 immigration document, which is given to Filipino refugees in Sabah.
The gunmen destroyed all communications equipment before heading towards Pulau Semporna where they hit another fishing trawler.
Many crewmen from the second vessel jumped into the sea.
But the gunmen managed to cart away an outboard engine before heading to the vessel's light boat from which they kidnapped another person.
As the gunmen were heading out they approached an unmarked boat which was actually manned by the Tiger Platoon.
A shoot-out followed in which three of the kidnappers were killed.
Mr Rashid said three people were found alive following the gunfight - two gunmen and the skipper of the fishing trawler.
However, two other gunmen and the victim from second kidnapping could not be located. - THE STAR