Thousands of police officers and volunteers combed the northern Taiwan countryside yesterday for the kidnapped daughter of television celebrity Pai Ping-ping. The search, said to have involved up to 5,000 people, was carried out from three separate locations based on analysis by detectives investigating the disappearance of 17-year-old Pai Hsiao-yen. In Ilan County, about 600 officers and volunteers made an inch-by-inch search of land running alongside a 10-kilometre rural road, after a tip-off that the girl might have been abandoned there three days before. A police station in Ilan was reported to have received a call late on Saturday from a man identifying himself as kidnap suspect Chen Chin-hsing. Officers said the caller claimed he had abandoned the girl at an unspecified location in the county but did not say if she was alive or dead. The case has captured the island's attention. Officials, including President Lee Teng-hui and Vice-President and Prime Minister Lien Chan, have vowed to find the girl and arrest the kidnappers at all costs. Chen, 39, thought to be one of the masterminds behind the crime, remained at large yesterday. Police believe up to three other accomplices are involved. Three suspects were arrested on Saturday after police tracked down their whereabouts by monitoring a mobile phone call to one of them from Lin Chun-sheng, 38, thought to be another leader of the gang. The kidnappers have asked for a ransom of US$5 million (HK$38.7 million).