SEMPORNA: Marine police on patrol along the coastline here gunned down a foreign intruder in a shootout near Pulau Bangau-Bangau on Sunday. The dead suspect who is in his 40's and is suspected to be a member of a group of criminals behind a string of kidnap cases east of Sabah was attempting to intrude Malaysian waters in a speedboat at about 2.15am when personnel in two marine police boats spotted the vessel moving suspiciously. Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) commander Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun said on seeing the police boats approach his speedboat the man sped off before a chase ensued. He said as the suspect sped towards the Semporna jetty, a police boat managed to waylay his boat. He said when gunshots rang out of the suspect's boat, the policemen returned fire which killed the suspect. Abdul Rashid said on inspecting the suspect's boat, police recovered a loaded .38-calibre revolver with five bullets and two spent shells. He said there were also two dents on the hull of a police boat caused by gunshots fired by the suspect. He said police investigations to determine the man's involvement in the recent kidnap cases and other transborder crimes in Semporna is underway. Abdul Rashid said following the case, police launched an operation at several water villages in the area where seven men and two women were held on suspicion of being involved in various crimes including kidnap. He said six more men who went by the names — Bocoi @ Komander Black, Ali @ Brown, Badung, Wahab, Alex and Nikson who were sought by the raiding teams are yet to be held. He urged those with information on the men to alert police. He said the military, police and maritime enforcement agency were constantly on watch of the east coast of Sabah to counter kidnap attempts by foreign groups. More than a dozen cases of kidnappings involving mainly tourists had occurred over the past years at several small island off the coast of east Sabah. The latest case involved police constable Zakiah Aleip, 26 who was snatched by a South Philippines kidnappers on July 4 at Pulau Mabu following a gun battle and remains in their captivity. The kidnappers who killed Zakiah's colleague Corporal Abd Rajah Jamuan, 32 in the attack have demanded for RM10 million for the release of the abducted policeman.