Despite the reported killing of the Abu Sayyaf leader in the Philippines, the threat of further kidnappings by the terrorist group remains in the islands off the east coast of Sabah, near the islands in the southern Philippines where Abu Sayyaf has been active. Malaysian police patrol the waters off the Sabah coast, but the area is large and isolated and offers many places for rebels to hide. Small military detachments have been posted on the islands of Sipadan and Pandanan to prevent a repeat of the abductions there in 2000.

Snatch theft is one of Malaysia’s biggest street crime problems, and as in any place where this crime occurs, there are greater dangers than losing your possessions. An Indonesian woman was killed recently in Penang when she was yanked off her feet by thieves on a motorcycle who snatched her shoulder bag. She struck her head on the pavement and later died. Other victims have suffered serious injuries in similar crimes. If carrying a bag, keep it on the side away from the street and try to be aware of motorcycles approaching from behind.