Saturday, June 7, 2014

Philippines/Malaysia: Wealthy Shanghai Tourist, 29, Filipina, 40, Released by Abu Sayyaf, But Not Without a Price

According to The Mindanao Examiner, a kidnapped Filipina resort worker, Marcy Dayawan, 40, freed by the terror group, Abu Sayyaf, along with a wealthy Shanghai tourist, Gao Huayun, 29,  has returned to her hometown in the southern Philippines after being detained and interrogated by Malaysian authorities on suspicion she was involved in the abduction.

Dayawan was reunited with her family in North Cotabato’s Midsayap town and told local media her ordeal. 

Dayawan and Gao Huayun, 29, were both freed by the Abu Sayyaf on May 30 in Sulu province. 
The duo was kidnapped on April 2 from the Singamata Adventures and Reef Resort in the town of Semporna in Sabah where Dayawan worked.

The kidnappers originally demanded RM36.4 million (equivalent to 500 million Philippine pesos or US$11,452,900) for the safe release of the Shanghai tourist. 

Sources told The Mindanao Examiner in Sulu that a leader of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Nameh Sangkula, helped negotiate the release of the hostages in the village of Bawisan in Parang. It was unknown as to who tapped Sangkula to secure the freedom of the hostages.

COMMENT: As I have said so often in the past, all nationalities should avoid travel to Mindanao at all costs.

It is very rare for Abu Sayyaf to hold kidnap victims for two months, feed them with "take-out" and constantly move them from one safe location to another, without being compensated.

It is assumed that Sangkula significantly negotiated downward the original ransom demand, yet time and energy are highly-valued no matter what the country.

Dayawan said they were guarded by about 70 gunmen whose leader has been identified as Alhabsi Misaya, neither of whom were harmed in any way. The two women were also well-fed during their captivity.

Dayawan also admitted that she entered Sabah illegally to work thirteen years ago.

Malaysian police released Dayawan to the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur on June 1 after being interrogated without legal representation. 

The Philippine Embassy, quoting Malaysian authorities, said Dayawan was not considered a suspect in the kidnapping. 
The Philippine Embassy expressed concern over the large number of cross-border kidnappings perpetrated by criminal elements from Mindanao, saying this has had detrimental impact on Filipinos residing in Sabah. 

Malaysian authorities also said gunmen snatched May 6 a Chinese fish farm manager in Lahad Datu town in Sabah and clashed briefly with pursuing patrol before disappearing into the southern Philippines. 

In November 2013, the al-Qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf kidnapped a Taiwanese tourist, Chang An Wei, 58, after killing her husband Hsu Li Min, 57, in a daring cross-border raid in Sabah’s Pom Pom Island. The surviving wife was eventually released a month later near the village of Liban in Talipao in Sulu after paying a substantial ransom.