KUALA LUMPUR - Unidentified gunmen shot dead a Taiwanese tourist and kidnapped his wife Friday in a remote part of Malaysia that was rocked earlier this year by a bloody Philippine militant incursion, a security official said.
The incident occurred at 1 a.m. (1700 GMT) Friday on Pom Pom Island, a popular scuba diving location in the eastern state of Sabah on Borneo island, and underlined continued security threats in the region despite a Malaysian security clampdown following the February incursion.
"A 57-year-old Taiwanese man was shot dead while his 56-year-old wife has been taken away. She has been taken somewhere else," said Mohammad Mentek, head of the Eastern Sabah Security Command, a joint police and armed forces operation set up in the wake of the incursion.
A police report on the incident identified the shooting victim as Li-Min Hsu, and his wife as An-Wei Chang.
Mohammad said it was not yet known who the gunmen were, where they were from, or where the woman was taken.
Malaysia and Taiwan do not have formal diplomatic ties.
More than 200 heavily-armed fighters landed by boat along the same stretch of Sabah coast in February in a bizarre bid to support their ageing leader, Jamalulu Kiram III, a self-proclaimed Philippine sultan who had staked a claim to the area.
Kiram, who passed away last month at the age of 75, had claimed to be the heir to the Sulu sultanate, which ruled over Sabah and islands that are now part of the Philippines until the 18th century.
After a nearly month-long stand-off, Malaysian armed forces moved in to clear out the dug-in guerrillas. Dozens died in the drama.
In 2000, armed Philippine gunmen took 21 hostages at Sipadan, another popular scuba diving site nearby, including 10 tourists from Europe and the Middle East. They were later ransomed.