KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia - A villager who pulled a prank about an impending intrusion by gunmen is in serious trouble with the police.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abd Rahman said they were seeking a magistrate's court order to investigate the matter before taking further action later this week.
Police had traced the voice recording, which was circulated on social media, to a woman in the Tungku area in Lahad Datu, he said.
The woman, in her 40s, had claimed that she did the voice recording as a joke and that she did not spread it to others, he added.
He said the 90-second recording urged people to pray for their safety as an intrusion was about to occur on the night of Sept 25.
"We will investigate her and take steps to find out who spread the recording on social media," he said after attending prayers at the Kepayan state police headquarters mosque to mark Hari Raya Haji yesterday.
The woman's "joke" about an intrusion in Sabah's east coast caused anxiety among the people there.
It is believed that security forces under the Eastern Sabah Security Command went on full alert in the Tungku area following talk about possible landings by gunmen that might have been triggered by the woman's voice recording.
Jalaluddin also dispelled another rumour that a fisherman was kidnapped in Sabah's northern Pitas area.
He said police were investigating the source of the rumour.
"I urge people not to spread rumours because it creates panic and fear among the people.
"The situation is under control.
"Our manpower and logistics are in place and we remain on the alert," he added.
On the sea curfew that ends today, he said it would be extended until Oct 21. This was the sixth two-week extension of the curfew that was put in place since July 19.
Jalaluddin said the 7pm to 5am curfew was needed to safeguard the east coast and prevent cross-border kidnappings as well as other criminal activities such as smuggling.