KOTA KINABALU: Four crewmen of a Malaysian boat have been kidnapped by armed Filipino gunmen near Pulau Ligitan off Semporna in the east coast of Sabah on Friday night.
Initial reports stated that eight Filipino gunmen in a speedboat jumped on board the Malaysian registered vessel, MV MASFIVE 6, which was sailing near Pulau Ligitan and held them at gunpoint before forcing them to disembark.
The speedboat with the four Malaysian hostages and the gunmen were seen speeding towards Filipino waters.
The other foreign crew members - three Myanmar and two Indonesians - were left unharmed.
According to initial reports, the four have been identified as Wong Teck Pang, 41, Wong Hung Song, 44, Wong Teck Chi, 39, and Johnny Lau Jung Hien, 21, although police have yet to confirm the identities.
The vessel was returning to Tawau after sending a shipment of logs to Manila when the group of about eight Filipino at about 7pm as it was sailing near Pulau Ligitan.
It is not known if the gunmen were linked to the notorious Abu Sayyaf which has demanded ransom of US$1mil(S$1.3 million) for the release of a group of Indonesian crewmen kidnapped on Monday.
The 10 Indonesian crewmen from a Taiwanese tugboat near kidnapped as their vessel was sailing close to the Malaysian waters off Sabah.