Friday, June 17, 2016

IGP: Families know where RM12mil went, police not involved in any payment

From The Star Online (Jun 17): IGP: Families know where RM12mil went, police not involved in any payment

Any payment to secure the release of the four Sarawakian sailors were made by their families without the involvement of the police, said Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.  

He said police were not involved in paying for the hostages to be freed.

Khalid also denied claims that the Special Branch had received the RM12mil raised by the families.  

“I must reiterate again that the government nor the police had paid any money to the kidnappers. If there were matters involving money or payment, it was something that was done by the families themselves,” he told a press conference here on Thursday.  
Asked if he knew where the RM12mil was channelled to, Khalid said: “I don’t know. We have nothing to do with the money and where or to whom it was channelled.  

“I think the families know where the money went and who received it,” he added. 
On the families' claims that the money was given to the Special Branch in Sandakan, Khalid said there were “third parties” involved with the families.  

“Everyone will use the name of the police and Special Branch but like I said, we don’t cooperate with anyone in paying ransom to the kidnappers,” he said.  

The families of the four Sarawakians, who were held hostage by Abu Sayyaf gunmen, had sought donations to secure their freedom.

After raising RM12mil, they claimed to have handed the money to the Special Branch on May 24.  

It was reported that RM9mil was raised through donations by individuals, RM1mil came from the mortgage made on two of the families' houses and RM2mil came from the shipping company in which the four men worked.  

However, the families came under pressure over where the donations they collected have gone when police said that no ransom was paid to the kidnappers.  

On Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the money raised by the families had been channelled to certain organisations in the Philippines whose “activities are legal”, but maintained that it was not used to pay ransom.  

The four Sarawakians - kidnapped on April 1 - were released on June 7 after long-drawn negotiations with the militants led by sub-commander Apo Mike.  

The two brothers Wong Teck Kang, 31, and Tech Chii, 29, their cousin Johnny, 21, and Wong Hung Sing, 34, who is not related to them were crew members of a tug boat.

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