KOTA KINABALU- A Hong Kong businessman who died in a road accident in Sandakan on Saturday was carrying money for his personal use and not likely for the purpose of securing the release of his kidnapped fish farm manager.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman said a total of RM3,000 (S$2,400) in assorted currencies was found at the scene where Kee Kwok Edien, 63, and three others in a taxi were killed in the accident at Batu 21, Jalan Labuk.
"We believe it was for his personal use," he said stressing that it was government policy not to entertain ransom demands.
Kee was travelling from Sandakan to Lahad Datu with a Malaysian businessman, Jaafar Kassim, 40, from Langkawi, and Filipino worker Pedro Jr Pajimola, 36, in the taxi that crashed into a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
The three, together with the taxi driver Salah Ibno, 64, died after the collision.
Kee was the owner of Wonderful Terrace Fish Farm in Lahad Datu, from where his manager Yang Zau Lin, a 34-year-old Chinese national, was abducted by Filipino gunmen on May 6.
Speculation that Kee was carrying a large sum of money to secure his manager's release emerged when Hong Kong media said that he was on his way to Lahad Datu to make deals with mediators to negotiate for Yang's freedom.
Jalaluddin said as far as Malaysian police were concerned, Yang was still being held by kidnappers for ransom in the Sulu area.
Kee's wife and other family members as well as Jaafar's family claimed their bodies at the Duchess of Kent Hospital mortuary.
Kee's family, who were accompanied by a Kuching-based China consulate officer, requested privacy while Jaafar's family said that he (Jaafar) was on a business trip to Sabah to meet Kee.
It is believed that it was about the possible sale of the fish farm to Jaafar.
Hong Kong Legislative Council member Steven Ho Chun-yin was quoted by the media as saying that Kee's wife had told him that she was proud of him (her husband) as he was trying to get his worker released.
Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily, which identified him as Edwin Yong Kee Kwok, said that he was on his way to work out a deal for the freedom of his farm manager who is believed to be held in the notorious Abu Sayyaf hideout of Jolo.