FCDO warns against travel to popular dive sites off coast of Malaysia

By Lisa James
Home » FCDO warns against travel to popular dive sites off coast of Malaysia

The UK Foreign Office has updated its advice to Malaysia, warning against all but essential travel to some islands and dive sites because there is a threat of kidnapping.

The advice applies to all islands and dive sites off the coast of eastern Sabah from Sandakan to Tawau, including Lankayan Island (pictured), a popular diving destination.

The FCDO said: “British nationals are seen as legitimate targets, including tourists, humanitarian aid workers, journalists and business travellers. If you are kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to protect you or secure your safe release.”

It adds: “In Malaysia, there is a threat to foreigners of kidnapping in coastal areas of eastern Sabah from terrorist and criminal groups. The threat is particularly high between the towns of Sandakan and Tawau and on islands close to the Sulu Archipelago in the southern Philippines.

“The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), based in the Philippines, has previously kidnapped foreigners from the east coast of mainland Sabah, the islands and the surrounding waters. The group has murdered several hostages. Some groups operating in the southern Philippines, including factions of ASG, have pledged allegiance to Daesh and are likely to regard Westerners as legitimate targets.”

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