SEMPORNA - General Operations Force personnel guarding the exclusive Pom Pom island resort had a tough time in the days prior to the shooting of a Taiwanese tourist and the abduction of his wife on Friday.
The GOF men had been frequently patrolling the surrounding waters of Pom Pom island, a 45-minute boat ride from this east coast town, but felt unwelcomed at the resort.
A policy of the resort was that security personnel could only enter its premises if written permission was given by the operator, according to a GOF member.
"The operator and his staff do not like having security personnel, especially if they are armed, around the resort even though it is our duty to safeguard islands in this part of Sabah," a police officer said.
"The staff even had to call their manager to ask for permission to sell food and drinks to the security forces."
He said the operator and staff did not change their attitude even after top security officials, including Eastern Sabah Security Command director-general Datuk Mohammad Mentek and Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib, visited the resort.
A massive sea hunt has been launched for the Abu Sayyaf-linked gunmen who killed Taiwanese businessman Hsu Li Min, 57, and abducted his wife Chang An Wei, 58.
Hsu was shot in the chest and rib. Police found a 5.56mm and three 6.62 bullet casings in the chalet where the couple stayed.