Sabah kidnapping: Cops in talks over lower ransom

KUALA LUMPUR - Police are still negotiating for a lower ransom amount for a Chinese tourist kidnapped in Semporna.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the negotiations were being held through an intermediary.

"We are working through a third party. The motive for the kidnapping is for monetary gain, thus we have to tread carefully," he told a press conference after giving a talk at the Putrajaya Forum held in conjunction with the Defence Services Asia exhibition here yesterday.

But he declined to reveal details of the negotiations, citing the need to ensure the safety of the victims.

In another development, Dr Ahmad Zahid said the Crime Prevention Board had begun its duties on April 2 following the amendment and subsequent gazzetting of the Prevention of Crime Act.

He said the board was reviewing 51 cases on whether to impose a two-year detention sentence or close monitoring using the Electronic Monitoring Device on the effected prisoners.

He also denied allegations that Malaysia was a transit point for human trafficking.

"We have stopped issuing visas on arrival to curb human trafficking to a third country. Malaysia is currently on Tier 2 of the human trafficking index and not Tier 3 as some parties alleged," he said.