• Wed
  • Sep 3, 2014
  • Updated: 1:54pm
NewsChina Insider

Pictured: The Chinese tourist kidnapped by ‘rebels’ while on holiday in Malaysia

Gao Huayun was snatched by suspected Philippine gunmen along with a hotel worker

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 April, 2014, 8:10am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 April, 2014, 12:22pm

Gao Huayun had just arrived on the picturesque scuba diving resort in eastern Borneo when she was shoved into a boat by gunmen and taken to an unknown location.

Malaysian authorities believe Philippine gunmen kidnapped the 29-year-old woman from Shanghai along with a hotel employee in a raid in Malaysia's Sabah state on Wednesday night.

Our priority is to ensure the safety of the hostages

It was the latest attack on tourists in a region plagued by frequent kidnap-for-ransom raids.

Guests took cover behind upturned tables after gunmen stormed through the Singamata Reef Resort at around 10.30pm. The chaos and confusion is clear in photos shared by tourists as they crouched on the floor. Some pictures showed armed police officers in bulletproof vests securing the resort after the raid.

The incident could further complicate relations between China and Malaysia, which have been strained since the March 8 disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines jet with 154 Chinese on board. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said the attack might have been aimed at further damaging Sino-Malaysian ties. "Our priority is to ensure the safety of the hostages," he said.

Some 1.8 million Chinese visited Malaysia last year, a 15 per cent annual rise, making China the third-biggest source of visitors to Malaysia. The Singamata is a resort popular with mainland tourists. But it has cottages and restaurants on stilts over the water, making it hard to protect from seaborne attackers.

Liu Quan , the Chinese consul general in Kuching, spoke to Sabah's police chief and urged officers to carry out a speedy rescue, deputy consul general Liu Dongyuan said.

The Philippines said its maritime police unit and anti-kidnapping officers were working with their Malaysian counterparts.

The resort manager, who asked to be identified only as Vicky, said five or six armed men burst into the hotel. They left by boat within minutes. No shots were fired, one witness said.

The gunmen took Gao and 40-year-old Marcy Dayawan, a Filipino hotel employee. Gao was travelling with a friend, who left the resort early yesterday, the hotel manager said. Gao's parents reportedly told local Shanghai radio that a day before the raid their daughter had received an admission letter for an MBA degree programme in Britain.

It is the latest in a series of raids in Sabah. Last February over 100 armed Filipinos landed by boat and launched attacks on Malaysian forces, sparking a security crisis in the area close to the Singamata resort.

In 2000, Abu Sayyaf gunmen from the Philippines crossed the border in speedboats and snatched 21 European tourists and Malaysian and Filipino workers from Malaysia's Sipadan diving resort. They were eventually released for large ransoms.


For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

If you are female irrespective of age, they will gang rape you first.If you are nice looking male irrespective of age, they will gang rape and sodomise you later after having fun with the girl.
The villagers are in cahoots with the kidnappers and get a cut for all the kidnaps.
What can you say when you are religious,hungry and poor.
The Mindanao peace treaty signed with the Fili government will release more people for such actions.Be prepared fro more of these kinds of news.
Great world is it not for those guys with guns as they say 'We Will Dominate The World".Direct action mission required!
The Philippines and Malaysian Govts don't come across as being very capable to allow such incidents to happen. After some German tourists were shot near the pyramids in Cairo many years ago, security measures were stepped up at hotels and popular destinations to protect visitors, who are so important to Egypt's economy. Things should have tightened up in the Philippines and Malaysia since the kidnapping in 2000 as reported. It has been 14 years which is plenty of time for measures to be taken before Malaysia becomes a pariah for tourists.
I really feel sorry for that poor girl. Imagine what's going through her mind, imagine being held up by all those forest rednecks...it's heart breaking. And her we have so many people discussing holiday destinations, staying away from Chinese...what's wrong with everyone?!
This is hardly a modern phenomenon. The coastal waters off north east Borneo have for many centuries been preyed upon by Sulu Sea pirates and sea gypsies, mainly from the area of Jolo Island, which -- surprise, surprise -- is where the Abu Sayyaf Group is based.
The area of East Malaysia where this took place was a hotbed last year of pseudo-secessionists so why would anybody namby pamby holiday in those areas...it took the Malaysian armed forces weeks to regain control of that sector...do your homework before you travel.
I think I'm gonna try to stay away from tourists places where there's a lot of Chinese.........they seem to attract a lot of trouble recently.
Unfortunately, that's everywhere...
If China wants its people protected, it should learn from Israel.
Israel has a policy of protecting its citizens.
Chinese are singled out for kidnapping and ransom because they are
considered weak and have no country to protect them.
Malaysia is acting more like a "failed state."
If a young American woman was kidnapped by Malaysian thugs or terrorists, you can believe American soldiers would be all over that little country.
China must protect its citizens.
If it means breaking a few eggs, so be it.
If China made it forbidden for Chinese to visit Malaysia,
you can believe there would be no more Chinese kidnappings or missing planes.
You've been watching too many movies and living in a fantasy world.
One thing I noticed, the vast majority of crimes aboard against Chinese citizens or at least the ones that are seen on the news are "brown-skin" Asian committing crimes against Chinese citizens.




SCMP.com Account