KOTA KINABALU - Taiwanese tourist Evelyn Chang, who was kidnapped from an island resort off Semporna, is believed to be still alive.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib, who revealed this here, expressed hope that the 58-year-old had not been harmed.
He said contact made by the armed men who took her from Pulau Pom Pom on Nov 15 with the Taiwanese authorities was believed to be genuine, but did not disclose her whereabouts.
"The (Malaysian) police are investigating and we will cover all aspects including determining whether ransom demand was made," he said after a closed-door security dialogue with island resort operators here.
Present were Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun and Eastern Sabah Security Command director-general Datuk Mohammad Mentek.
According to Taiwan-based news agency Apple Daily, Evelyn's brother Richard had reached the Philippines last week to secure the return of his sister who was with her companion Li Min Hsu at the resort when the armed gunmen struck.
Hsu was shot dead in the chalet they shared while Evelyn was taken hostage by the group from the island resort located about 30km from Semporna town.
Hamza said police would screen all resorts and their workers in an operation soon as a precautionary measure to prevent such attacks from happening.
Resort operators needed to step up their security and they could do this by installing closed-circuit television cameras and panic buttons, he said. "We have security forces stationed on the islands but some (resorts) are not cooperating because they don't want our armed personnel to be there."
Echoing similar sentiments, Masidi urged resort operators, especially those on the islands off the eastern coast of Sabah, to focus on enhancing internal security systems.