KOTA KINABALU - Abu Sayyaf gunmen are apparently asking for high ransom payments for the release of marine police constable Zakiah Aleip who was kidnapped from Mabul Island in Semporna on July 12.
It is learnt that the gunmen are demanding sums of up to RM5mil (S$1.96mil) for the release of the 26-year-old policeman whose colleague Kpl Ab Rajah Jamuan, 32, was shot dead by Filipino gunmen who raided the police post at a resort in Mabul.
Speaking to reporters after witnessing the handing over duties by acting state CID chief Asst Comm Mohd Shariff Abdul Wahid to new Sabah CID chief Sr Asst Comm Salehhudin Abdul Rahman, Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman declined to disclose the amount involved.
He said negotiations to secure the freedom of Kons Zakiah might take a longer time, as the amount was "terlalu tinggi (too expensive)".
Comm Jalaluddin said there were a total of 42 calls received by the wife and other policemen from either Kons Zakiah or the gunmen.
"The gunmen also gave him (Kons Zakiah) the chance to speak to his wife and family members, most of the time during the afternoon or evening," he said.
"It is going to take time … the amount is too high," Comm Jalaluddin said, adding that Kons Zakiah was unhurt though he was being moved about by the captors to evade arrest by the Philippines police.
On the call for assistance from the Government by Chin Pek Nyen, the wife of Chan Sai Chuin, 32, who was grabbed from his Kunak fish farm on June 16, Comm Jalaluddin said he had discussed Chan and Kons Zakiah's cases with the Inspector-General of Police and other officers in Bukit Aman recently.
It is believed that the Abu Sayyaf group holding Chan is demanding RM3mil and the family is unable to raise the money.
On another matter, Comm Jalaluddin directed CID officers to speed up the clearing of backlog of cases where investigations might have been delayed due to officers retiring or being transferred.
"Some of the investigation papers are delayed up to three months, we have to clear it to meet our KPIs," he said, adding that all officers must work diligently and update the complainants on the development of their respective cases.
"Reports against policemen should also be completed quickly as it is only then that the management and disciplinary unit can look at such cases," he said.