Chinese tourist kidnapped in Malaysia is rescued by security forces

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 31 May, 2014, 1:29am
UPDATED : Saturday, 31 May, 2014, 12:33pm

A Chinese tourist and a Filipino worker have been rescued nearly two months after they were abducted from a resort off Borneo island, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said yesterday.

Najib credited their release to cooperation between Malaysian and Philippine security forces and said no ransom was paid.

Malaysian officials earlier said the kidnappers had demanded a ransom of 500 million pesos (HK$88 million) for Gao Huayun, the Chinese hostage.

Gunmen, thought to be Philippine Abu Sayyaf militants, kidnapped the Shanghai woman, 28, and the Filipino woman, Marcy Dayawan, 40, from the Singamata Reef Resort in the eastern Malaysian state of Sabah on April 2.

Gao was heard screaming, "I don't want to go" in English when being taking away by three men with M14 automatic rifles.

They were believed to have been taken to the southern Philippines.

"No ransom paid to secure their release. Success due to co-operation of Malaysia and Philippines security forces. I thank all involved," Najib tweeted.

He said authorities were working to return the Chinese woman to her home country as soon as possible. Gao had been reported to be safe and able to talk to her family on the mobile phone every day.

There has been a spate of kidnappings in recent months off Sabah, a popular tourist destination and dive spot that is just a short boat ride from the southern Philippines, home to Muslim militants and kidnap gangs.

Another Chinese citizen, Yang Zailin, 34, a manager at a fish farm in Guilin, in Guangxi province, was kidnapped on May 6 at Silam, near Lahad Datu, on the east coast of Sabah.

He was believed to be kidnapped by Filipino rebels. Malaysian security forces exchanged gunfire with the kidnappers, but the kidnappers managed to escape into international waters, according to Malaysia security officials.

In November, suspected Abu Sayyaf militants killed a Taiwanese tourist and kidnapped his wife from another Sabah resort.

The woman was released a month later in the southern Philippines. Authorities did not say whether a ransom was paid.

The Sabah government announced measures last month to tighten security, including a curfew and travel restrictions in high-risk areas.

Additional reporting by Zhuang Pinghui