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Published: Monday December 23, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Monday December 23, 2013 MYT 11:15:25 AM

Claims of ransom payout for captive

KOTA KINABALU: A ransom of US$300,000 (RM988,380) is believed to have been paid to secure the release of Taiwanese Evelyn Chang An-wei, who was held hostage by Abu Sayyaf gunmen in the southern Philippines island of Jolo.

Though officials in the Philippines and Taiwan have maintained that the 58-year-old Chang was rescued from her captors who snatched her from Sabah’s Pom Pom island on Nov 15, the ransom amount was widely speculated in the Taiwanese media.

Chang’s elder brother Richard Chang Da Gong did not dispute media reports when he said that his sister was not abused during her captivity, and that the kidnappers were only after money.

Da Gong, who communicated with the kidnappers during her 36-days of captivity, did not speak directly about the alleged ransom payment.

Chang, whose 57-year-old husband Lim Min-hu was gunned down when abductors attempted to grab him during the kidnapping at the resort, was left alone outside a forested area near Jolo’s Talipoa village where a Philippines joint task force found her at 4pm on Friday following a tip-off.

Philippines officials familiar with the kidnap for ransom operations explained that the Abu Sayyaf groups usually released their captives once the agreed amount was sent in through intermediaries.

The groups are still holding at least a dozen captives, including two European bird watchers who were kidnapped last year in the Philippines’ Tawi-Tawi province.

Da Gong thanked the Philippines national police’s anti-kidnapping group for helping him to communicate with the kidnappers and his sister during her captivity.

Da Gong, who also thanked the Malaysian police authorities for their work in the rescue mission, said he was helped by a family friend, Yu Ching, who was later identified as the nephew of Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou.

Chang, who was reported to be a close friend of the Taiwanese president’s wife, is now undergoing a medical check-up at a hospital in Taiwan.

She had told Filipino officials that she was unaware that her husband was killed though she heard gunfire while the gunmen was dragging her out of the resort.

Related stories:

The Presidents man to the rescue

Tags / Keywords: Courts & Crime, Taiwanese hostage, Jolo

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