Chinese tourist freed by Abu Sayyaf kidnappers to be reunited with family today

Chinese tourist freed by Abu Sayyaf kidnappers to be reunited with family today
Above: Gao Huayuan

KUALA LUMPUR - After almost two months in captivity, Chinese tourist Gao Huayun, who was released by her Abu Sayyaf kidnappers in Jolo, Sabah on Friday, is expected to be reunited with her family in Shanghai later on Saturday.

Sources reported that the 29-year-old Ms Gao and Filipino hotel worker Marcy Darawan, who was also released, were flown with Bukit Aman security personnel from Kota Kinabalu to Kuala Lumpur at 6am on Saturday.

Here, Ms Gao is believed to have caught a connecting flight to Shanghai at 9am.

Ms Darawan, however, is remaining here for the time being, said Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar.

"We have arranged for her (Gao) to meet her family there as soon as possible. She already left this morning. "As for the Filipina, we will see first as we are still checking her documents," Tan Sri Khalid said when met by reporters before leaving to London.

Mr Khalid claimed Ms Gao was still undergoing trauma but was eager to return home.

Two police officers reportedly arrived in Jolo on Saturday to escort both Ms Gao and Ms Darawan, 40, from a camp in Jolo after months of negotiations between the Malaysian, Chinese and Philippine authorities and the Abu Sayyaf group.

They were later taken to Sandakan at 4.30pm and then sent to Kota Kinabalu at 9.25pm, a source told Utusan Malaysia.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak tweeted on Friday night that no ransom was paid in the release of the two women.

A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Malaysia, while confirming that Ms Gao had departed for Shanghai, expressed gratitude to the Malaysian authorities for their help in securing the release of their national.

Ms Gao and Ms Darawan were snatched from Singamata Reef Resort in Semporna on April 2.

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