Saturday, 13 April 2013

#LahadDatu: Filipinos may escape charge

The police are recommending that the 32 Filipinos arrested for illegally entering Sabah not be charged as they are believed to be a political group which had inadvertently drifted into the state's waters.

Sabah police chief Comm Datuk Hamza Taib said investigations revealed the group might be part of a team of campaigners in the ongoing Philippine mayoral election.

Police, however, were waiting for confirmation from the Philippines Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

“We have opened an investigation paper and referred it to the Senior Federal Counsel but will recommend that the 32 not be charged,” he said after receiving a contribution from the Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd.

The contribution totalling RM27,736.85 was for family members of security personnel killed during the Sulu intrusion in Lahad Datu and Semporna last month.

“We are waiting for an official letter from the embassy to verify these men were on their way to the Taganak Islands to campaign in the Tawi-Tawi mayoral election when they were arrested near Tambisan in Lahad Datu at about 2am on Monday,” Comm Hamza said.

He said that although early investigations did not show any involvement in the Sulu intrusion, police would still detain them under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012.

He was responding to news reports in the Philippines that a town mayor of Tawi-Tawi, who is seeking re-election on the Liberal Party ticket, and his running mate as well as supporters were detained by Malaysian authorities for intruding into Sabah on Tuesday night.

They reported that Languyan Mayor Rommel Matba, his running mate and cousin Amman Matba, police escort Hassan Abdiullah and at least 21 supporters were on a motorised boat that drifted near Lahad Datu where fighters of the Sulu sultanate had earlier battled Malaysian security forces.

The number of people detained under the security offences is 183 while those arrested under other acts remained at 354 people.
The Star


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