Wednesday, April 16, 2014

PH, China, Malaysia negotiating hostages’ release

From the Manila Bulletin (Apr 16): PH, China, Malaysia negotiating hostages’ release

The Philippines and China are now working with Malaysian authorities in negotiating with the kidnappers of the Chinese tourist and Filipina worker who were abducted from an island resort near Semporna in Sabah on April 2.

Speaking at a press conference after the Putrajaya Forum 2014 in Kuala Lumpur where he delivered a speech on transnational and organized crime on Tuesday, Malaysian Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi disclosed that Filipino authorities, in particular, are working with certain parties who are able to negotiate directly with the captors of 29-year-old Chinese tourist Gao Huayun, and 40-year old Marcy Dayawan.

Gao and Dayawan were abducted from the Singamata Adventures and Reef Resort in Semporna by seven armed men. The Philippine national is employed at the resort as a receptionist.

Authorities believe that the Semporna kidnap case was the handiwork of Philippine militant Muslim group Abu Sayyaf. The group also abducted a Taiwanese tourist in November of the previous year from Pulau Pom Pom, off Sabah’s east coast.

Ahmad Zahid, likewise, revealed that part of the negotiations is the reduction of the RM36.4 million (roughly P500-million) ransom that the kidnappers have demanded for the safe release of the Chinese national.

The Malaysian official, however, declined to offer more details on the case for security reasons aside from the general belief that the motive of the suspects was “purely to enrich themselves with the ransom money.”

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