KOTA KINABALU - A suspected accomplice of the kidnap-for-ransom group was questioned by Philippines police amid claims that gunmen were demanding RM12mil (S$4.6mil) from the family of fish breeder Chan Sai Chiun.
Tawi Tawi police chief Colonel Joey Salido said the suspect from the Sitangkai area was questioned on suspicion of being part of the group on Tuesday but had been released due to the lack of conclusive evidence.
"We believe that the suspect who lives at our border islands was in cohorts with the kidnap-for-ransom gang. We have taken his picture and fingerprints before he was released on Thursday," Col Salido said when contacted by The Star on Friday.
The latest effort by the Philippines to track down cross-border kidnap groups comes following the kidnap of the 32-year old fish farm operator Chan from Kunak and a Filipino farm worker Maslan, 20, on Monday.
However, Col Salido said that checks by the Armed Forces of Philippines in Sitangkai and Sibutu islands close to the border of Sabah's Semporna could not locate the gunmen and their hostages.
"We are still checking within islands in Tawi Tawi and it is difficult to say (as of now) if the gunmen had entered Jolo in the Sulu province,'' he said, adding that they were checking on various tip-offs to locate the gang.
On Wednesday, informed sources in Sabah said that Chan's wife Chin Pek Nyen, 42, had received a call from the gunmen holding her husband and that she was allowed to talk to him briefly.