Semporna kidnap: Cops optimistic women will be freed soon

Semporna kidnap: Cops optimistic women will be freed soon

KOTA KINABALU - Malaysian police are upbeat that the two foreign women snatched from Semporna on April 2 would be freed soon from their captors in the southern Philippines.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said Chinese national Gao Huayun, 29, and Filipina resort worker Marcy Darawan, 40, were safe and steps were being taken to secure their release.

"We expect to make a closure soon," he told reporters yesterday after pinning the Commandant Medal to Police Volunteer Reserve officer for Sabah Supt Paul Lajumin.

However, Khalid said he could not disclose too much to ensure the safety of the hostages who were grabbed from Singamata Reef Resort by gunmen linked to the Abu Sayyaf.

"Our priority is their safety. Anything we say could pose a threat to their safety," he added.

On weaknesses within the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) area, Khalid said the army and the police had taken measures to further enhance the security arrangement, besides strengthening communication with their counterparts in the Philippines.

However, he said it was more important for resorts to ensure their workers were legal and also put in place security measures like CCTVs and their own guards, among others.

"You must bear in mind that these groups across the border are keen to kidnap for fast money. If they see a loophole, they will come again," he said in urging resort operators to stop employing illegal immigrants.

On investigations into Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, Khalid said that so far police had recorded the statements of 260 people and expect to record more.

"When we have reasonable and good findings, we will inform the public," he said.

Khalid also said that since the new Prevention of Crime Act took effect on April 1, police had arrested 106 people involved in secret societies and organised crime under Ops Cantas Khas 2.

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