KOTA KINABALU- Nine weeks in captivity ended for Yang Zai Lin when a team of Malaysian negotiators came to pick up the abducted fish farm manager from Jolo island, where he had been held by Abu Sayyaf gunmen.
However, when Yang and the negotiators were moving away from the seaside village of Patikul in the southern Philippines island at about 9pm on Wednesday, their boat was fired at several times.
The unknown gunmen, who might have been from a rival kidnap group, missed their target.
Yang and the negotiators then arrived safely in the Sabah east coast town of Sandakan at about 1am yesterday.
Wearing a brown round-necked T-shirt, Yang appeared thin and exhausted when he was reunited with his family in Sandakan. He had been in captivity for 63 days.
Yang then went to pay his last respects to Kee Kwok Edien, his employer, at the Duchess of Kent Hospital mortuary.
The 63-year-old Hong Kong-based businessman owned the Wonderful Terrace Fish Farm in Lahad Datu from where Yang was abducted by the gunmen on May 6.
Kee, who was negotiating for Yang's release, was killed with three others in a taxi during an accident near Sandakan on July 5.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said Yang was flown from Sandakan to Kuala Lumpur yesterday afternoon.
He said arrangements would be made for Yang to return home to China.
Another hostage from Sabah, 34-year-old Chan Sai Chuin, remains in the hands of Abu Sayyaf gunmen in southern Philippines.
He was kidnapped from a fish farm in Kampung Sapang on June 16.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman told reporters that no ransom was paid for Yang's release.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi said the authorities were able to free Yang as they acted on intelligence.