Kidnapped fishermen rescued by police (updated)

GEORGE TOWN: Pirates have regularly violated Malaysian waters and ships terrorized along the Langkawi-Koh Samui route for the kidnapping yesterday of four local fishermen from Pulau Langgun, about 10 nautical miles from Langkawi.

Langkawi Tourism Organization (Tourism Langkawi) pro-tem President Ahmad Pishol Isahak called for strengthening security along the coast due to the threats of foreign pirates.

"The offenders have been killed in stealing speed boats meant for island hopping activities," he said today.

"We know, but we did not want to say much earlier because we assumed that our security forces would be able to curtail them."

During Sunday's incident, pirates came from Thailand to the border and removed four local fishermen from several others who were trapped on their trawlers.

A police navy ship rushed to the scene to rescue 11 other local fishermen and catch four suspected pirates armed with three revolvers, but they could not save the four fishermen who were supposed to have been kidnapped.

The police think they are being held over the border on one of the many atolls or islands in the vicinity of Koh Samui.

"This is the first case of known abduction of fishermen from Langkawi." We are worried because island hopping is one of the top activities for tourists visiting Langkawi, "Pishol said the sun.

"We do not want a new offense, our enforcement authorities have to do more," he added.

Langkawi has the combined resources of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, the Navy for the Coastal Police and the Navy.

They would have to join forces and patrols, Pishol said. He also called for surveillance from the air.

Pishol said that the authorities had previously treated pirates from Indonesia, but now Thai bandits also end up in our waters.

Kedah chief commissioner Comm Datuk Zainal Abidin Kasim said they had flopped the kidnapping attempt on a larger scale with the rapid action of the police navy, but the four fishermen were kidnapped.

A source of intelligence from the police said that the pirates would want to exchange the four victims with their four comrades in custody by the navy.

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