Fears grow for Chinese woman missing in Malaysia, as embassy says investigation under way
He Yuting, 25, is a frequent visitor to Kuala Lumpur and has friends in the city, but her family say she has been out of contact for a fortnight
The Chinese embassy in Kuala Lumpur is working with local authorities in an effort to trace a 25-year-old Chinese woman who has been missing for two weeks, after arriving in the Malaysian capital on February 7.
He Yuting, who lives in southwestern China’s Sichuan province but frequently travels to Malaysia for work, has been out of contact since February 22, her family told the South China Morning Post on Wednesday.
He’s mother, Wang Lunyan, said that the last time she spoke to her daughter, she told her she was well and not to worry. But since February 22, He’s phone has been turned off and none of her mother’s messages have been returned.
Wang said that He worked as a daigou – a kind of personal shopper who buys goods in foreign countries to take advantage of preferential prices – and had been travelling to Malaysia two or three times a year since 2015.
He left her home in the city of Mianzhu for her most recent visit to Kuala Lumpur on February 7, but did not tell her family the exact purpose of the trip.
“She didn’t tell me why she was going to Malaysia … I asked her if she was going to see her boyfriend, she just smiled and didn’t say yes or no,” Wang said.
Wang, who works as a waitress, said she had applied for a visa to visit Malaysia so she could report her daughter missing to the police, and was waiting for the paperwork to come through. The process usually took seven days, she said.
The Chinese embassy in Kuala Lumpur said it had already begun working with the local police.
“We are very concerned about the personal safety of He Yuting,” a worker at the consular protection department told the Post.
“We have communicated with the Malaysian government and police, and they will contact us once they have an update.”
He’s family said they knew little about her life in Malaysia, apart from the fact she had a Chinese boyfriend who lived there, and that when she stayed in Kuala Lumpur it was with a female friend, who is also Chinese.
Luo Bin, the missing woman’s cousin, said He began video-calling a man about a year ago, whom she described as a “good friend who could become a boyfriend”.
All he knew about him was that he was 29, about 1.7 metres (5 feet 7 inches) tall and came from Fuzhou, the capital of southeast China’s Fujian province, Luo said.
He’s female friend treated her “like a sister”, Wang quoted her daughter as saying.
Neither Luo nor Wang have any contact information for He’s two friends.
Luo said that his cousin told him she did not want to return to China for the Lunar New Year holiday, which started on February 16, but did not give a reason.
He said he thought it was probably because when He’s family got together they tended to put pressure on her to get married and settle down.
“The atmosphere at home is not very good, and her mother is on her own,” Luo said. “Her relatives are always telling her that, as a girl, she shouldn’t just be drifting around, but should find a local job and get married.”
Despite the pressure put on her, He was an independent and ambitious person who wanted to provide a better life for her family, Luo said.
“I have a very good relationship with my daughter,” Wang said. “She bought me some face masks before she left [for Malaysia] and told me to take care of myself.”
The faces of the people pictured in this story were pixelated at the request of Wang Lunyan, the mother of missing Chinese woman He Yuting.