KOTA KINABALU: A fishing trawler owner in Sandakan has lodged a police report after failing to contact his crew since Wednesday (Dec 5) night.
According to the owner's report, he had tried contacting his Indonesian skipper Hariadin between 7.30pm and 10pm but could not get through.
Fearing for their safety, the owner lodged a report at the Sandakan police station at about 1.30pm Thursday (Dec 6).
Sabah police commissioner Datuk Omar Mammah said there were four crewmen on board and police were investigating whether they have been kidnapped.
"We have not received any calls or information on what happened to the crew so we cannot say that they have been kidnapped," he said during a press conference here Friday (Dec 7).
He said authorities only found an empty vessel with its engine still running near Pegasus Reef in waters off Lahad Datu.
Earlier, Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) commander Datuk Hazani Ghazali had also said they were checking on the matter.
“We are not sure whether this is a kidnapping or hijacking of any sort,” he said when contacted.
Hazani said they were still trying to ascertain if the incident had anything to do with an attempted boat heist where a skipper was shot in the thigh near Pulau Tambisan off Lahad Datu at about 7.30pm Wednesday.
It is not known whether the crew members were kidnapped or detained by Philippine authorities for encroaching foreign waters.
On the attempted heist, Omar said they have yet to receive any ransom calls and were working closely with their intelligence sources and counterparts in the Philippines.