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Published on : Saturday, November 16, 2013
Hamza Taib, police chief in eastern Sabah state on Borneo, said the 57-year-old man was found dead with gunshot wounds in his water villa on Pom Pom island while his wife was missing and believed abducted.
He said the door of the villa, which sits on stilts in the sea, was locked and the assailants most likely came by boat and entered the villa through the bathroom. A villa security guard heard gun shots and informed authorities, who found the man’s body.
The case underlines persistent security threats in Sabah, a popular tourist destination and dive spot which is just a short boat ride from the southern Philippines. Border security has long been problematic, with illegal immigrants and suspected criminals often slipping past naval patrols and entering Sabah by sea.
However, Hamza said the assailants were unlikely to be Abu Sayyaf Muslim militants from the southern Philippines, who have entered Sabah in the past and abducted Western tourists and Malaysian workers for ransom.
“There is no evidence to show it’s done by Abu Sayyaf. We treat this as a criminal case,” he said.
In February, an estimated 200 armed Filipinos appeared at a remote coastal village and refused to leave, insisting that Sabah belonged to their royal clan. The territorial claim, rejected by Malaysia, triggered gun battles that killed eight Malaysian policemen, a soldier and scores of Filipino gunmen and alleged sympathisers who provided them with shelter, food and information.