TAIPEI, Taiwan - Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) yesterday said that Taiwan did receive a call from the Philippines regarding the abduction of a Taiwanese woman in Malaysia, but noted that he cannot confirm whether the call was made by the kidnappers.
Lee noted that the caller mentioned ransom demands during the telephone conversation, but admitted he could not attest to the details of the call.
Before attending an interpellation at the Legislative Yuan's Internal Administration Committee yesterday. Lee told local media that the Criminal Investigation Bureau's (CIB) offices in Malaysia and the Philippines had proactively begun an investigation immediately after the incident occurred in Malaysia.
The minister said the CIB dispatched two police officers to the Philippines to investigate the case.
Chang An-wei (張安薇), 58, was reportedly abducted by several gunmen last Friday, Nov. 15 while on vacation on Pom Pom Island off the east coast of Sabah. Her husband, Hsu Li-min (許立民), was found dead after being shot in the chest.
Lee said on Nov. 17 that he already knew Chang was still alive and in the Philippines; however, he said only that the CIB knew information about the case.
CIB Commissioner Lin Te-hua (林德華) said that the bureau has remained in close contact with Chang's family, and it also dispatched personnel to Malaysia on Nov. 18 and has worked with local police departments since then.
Lin also said that at that time, the CIB notified the Taipei District Prosecutors Office to start investigating the case. He added that the safety of Chang is the first priority and therefore he cannot comment too much on the investigation.
When asked by local reporters how many calls the callers made, and if the caller was the kidnapper, Lin refused to answer.
Lee further noted that there are specific ways for abduction cases to be handled, and some sensitive information needs to be kept confidential in order to ensure Chang's safety.
Investigators will provide the public with information when it is time to do so, Lee said, adding that otherwise it will cause unnecessary troubles to everyone.
Family members of Hsu had arrived in Sabah on Tuesday to claim his body and to assist Malaysian authorities in rescuing the victim's wife from kidnappers.