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Police officers at the Ocean King Restaurant, Sandakan where two locals were kidnapped by gunmen last night.

SANDAKAN: A group of gunmen who kidnapped two locals from the Ocean King Restaurant here, last night, may have had a "pointer".‎

Sabah police commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman believed there was a "pointer" in the 7.26pm incident, adding police were establishing whether the victims were their main target.

"At the moment there is no contact. We are looking into the background of all restaurant workers and will narrow down how these two victims became a target," he said in a press statement.

He also said the Muktadil brothers could be involved in the first kidnapping after curfew hour was enforced‎ at six districts within Eastern Sabah Safety Zone namely Kinabatangan, Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Kunak, Tawau, and Semporna.

‎In the incident, gunmen clad in camouflage uniform stormed the floating seafood restaurant at Jalan Pasir Putih and kidnapped Thien Nyuk Fun, 49, from Sandakan, and customer Bernard‎ Then Ted Fen, 38.

‎There were about 100 customers, including children, at the dining area and the suspects fled towards the open sea in a boat.‎

‎Jalaluddin said police had viewed the CCTV footage, adding some witnesses were able to identify the suspects.

‎Yesterday, fishermen expressed concern and urged security to step up night patrols especially at coastal area and riverside where business premises are being operated‎.

Although the 7pm and 5am curfew was efficient, fishermen said security forces must not be too dependent on it.

‎‎Last Thursday, four gunmen stormed a lobster breeding centre on Pulau Bait off Semporna and robbed two workers.‎

‎Police suspected the island robbery was an inside job and that they had identified several individuals in connection with it.

‎On the same day, security forces under the Easter Sabah Security Command were deployed to carry out sweeping operation in an oil palm estate in Kinabatangan following reports there were sightings of gunmen hiding in the estate.

Security forces have yet to track down any gunmen in the area while sweeping operation continued.

It was unsure whether the three cases were related.

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