Sabtu, 31 Mei 2014

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The Star Online: Nation

Najib tells embassy to go to Hadi’s aid in Istanbul

Posted: 31 May 2014 09:00 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has instructed the Malaysian embassy in Istanbul to provide the necessary support for PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang, who has been hospitalised with breathing difficulties.

"I was informed that DS Hadi Awang was warded in Istanbul Hospital. I have called the embassy this morning to ensure he receives the necessary support," Najib tweeted yesterday.

It was reported earlier that Hadi was rushed to the hospital after complaining of breathing difficulties during his Turkey trip. PAS information chief Datuk Mahfuz Omar told the party news portal Harakahdaily that the 66-year-old Marang MP was now under observation.

According to Mahfuz, Hadi was expected to be back on June 4.

Meanwhile, Hadi's son and PAS Youth deputy chief Khalil Abdul Hadi was quoted as saying that the party president was in stable condition.

Duo not tortured in Jolo

Posted: 31 May 2014 09:00 AM PDT

KOTA KINABALU: Abu Sayyaf gunmen did not torture or abuse Chinese national Gao Huayun (pic right) and Filipina resort worker Marcy Dayawan @ Mimi during their 58 days of captivity in the jungles of Jolo.

However, Mimi, 40, was constantly threatened with being beheaded if Gao's family did not pay the ransom for their freedom within 20 days of their calls.

It is learned that the women, who were handed over to an Abu Sayyaf group for a fee by a Tawi Tawi-based kidnap-for-ransom group, were constantly guarded by at least 40 gunmen after they were taken straight to Jolo.

They were not harmed and were given daily meals of rice and fish but only got a serving of vegetables once during their captivity.

After weeks of negotiations, mediators secured the release of 29-year-old Gao and Mimi on Friday at about 11.30am. They were then brought from Jolo to Sandakan at 4.30pm before being flown to Kota Kinabalu where they were debriefed.

The two left for Kuala Lumpur early yesterday; while Gao flew immediately back to Shanghai, police were looking into travel documentation for Mimi before sending her back to the Philip­pines.

Both the women, who often cried during captivity, had never thought they would be released one day and were thankful for their freedom.

It was learned that there was a third woman with them but they were unsure whether she was a hostage or part of the group.

The heavily armed Abu Sayyaf men, ranging from teenagers to men in their 40s, kept a close watch on the hostages in the forested area within a village in Jolo.

On April 2, Gao and Mimi were grabbed by seven armed men in a small pumpboat from Singamata Reef Resort in Semporna before they were transferred to a high-powered boat and taken straight to Jolo.

They were taken to a jungle area but three days later when the Philippines army helicopters were heard hovering over the area they moved deeper in­­land, where they remained until their rescue, it was learned.

While Gao was reunited with her family in China yesterday, Mimi's fate remains unknown as her family, including her parents, have not returned to their home at Kampung Perigi in Semporna town.

Neighbours said they had not seen her family members who had been initially detained as police pursued the possibility of a link between them and the kidnappers.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib said yesterday that police had released the family members after questioning.

He added, however, they were still investigating whether Mimi had any links to the kidnapping. Both state police and Bukit Aman have recorded statements from Gao and Mimi.

"If we are sure that Mimi was not in­vol­ved, she will be sent back to her family in the Philippines," he said when contacted.

With Gao and Mimi's release, police have been able to get a better picture of the groups involved in the kidnapping and steps are underway to secure the release of another Chinese national, Yong Zai Lin, 34, who was grabbed by crossborder gunmen from the Wonder Terrace Fish Farm in Lahad Datu on May 9. He was the manager of the fish farm owned by a Hong Kong businessman.

Sources said that although they believed the same gang kidnapped Yong and the women, it was ano­ther Abu Sayyaf group who was holding the manager.

Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman thanked all parties, inclu­ding Malaysian security forces and their counterparts in the Philip­pines for helping secure the release of the hostages.

"This was a complex operation that required coordinated intelligence work and cooperation at many levels. I also wish to remind our security forces to continuously be vigilant to ensure there are no more such untoward incidents," he added.

Family elated with release

Posted: 31 May 2014 09:00 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Family members of the Shanghai woman, who was abducted from the Singamata Reef Resort in Semporna on April 2 and released on Friday after 58 days in captivity, are elated by her return.

Gao Huayun's aunt told the Shanghai Morning Post that the family found out about her release on Friday night.

"We do not have the details yet. Gao's parents have already contacted all their relatives and we are all very happy," said the aunt who was not identified.

At a meeting with China's President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Friday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had informed Xi of Gao's release.

Najib later tweeted he had been briefed by Malaysian police on the matter and that no ransom had been paid by the Malaysian authorities for her release.

When the Shanghai Morning Post reporter visited the apartment in Shanghai where Gao's parents lived on Friday night, the apartment was locked.

According to the neighbours, Gao's pa­­rents had moved out of the apartment following the incident to evade the press.

"All of the neighbours are also overjoyed to hear the news. After being captured for so many days, she is finally coming home," said a neighbour.

Local reports have said that since Gao was taken to the isolated islands in southern Philippines, the abductors had allowed Gao's parents to speak to her on a daily basis.

The Shanghai Morning Post also reported that 18 hours after the abduction, Gao spoke to her mother on the phone telling her that her abductors had demanded about 15 million yuan (RM7.9mil) for her release.


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