JOHOR BARU - Two-year-old girl Angie Tiong from Johor Baru, whose father lodged a police report last month over her disappearance, has been "adopted" by a Singaporean couple, the China Press has reported.
Citing sources, the daily said Angie "is currently staying with the childless couple, who are in their 40s, in Singapore".
Angie's aunt Tiong Mei Ling, 36, who learnt about the news, hoped the couple would return the girl to her.
Ms Tiong said her family would return money paid to the couple, as Angie's drug-addict father had allegedly "sold her off" for RM12,000 (S$3,957).
The newspapers reported that the girl's father, 33, had revealed that the girl was sold off after he had received RM12,000 after surrendering his daughter to a middleman.
The papers also reported that a relative had said this.
"The father told police that the girl had been sold off after she was brought to a lawyer firm to sign an agreement, he had received RM12,000 after surrendering his daughter to a middle man," she said.
"We suspect something amiss when he gave us contradicting statements about the girl's disappearance."
According to the girls' relatives, who had been taking care of her, Angie's father took her away from them on Nov 9, claiming that he was taking her out to play.
But when he did not return the girl, they filed a police report early this month, the Oriental Daily reported.
Police are still investigating the case.
The father, who has a long history of drug abuse, had lodged a police report a month after his daughter went missing, claiming he only realised she had been kidnapped after she did not return from a walk she had taken with his friend.
In his report lodged on Dec 10, the man said a male friend had taken Angie for a walk from a budget hotel in Jalan Maju at Johor's Taman Pelangi on Nov 11. Before they left for the walk, he said the friend had given him a "few thousand ringgit".
Police have now arrested three suspects - a cook, a labourer and an unemployed man - all aged between 30 and 33 years, in their investigation into the "kidnapping" case and are on the lookout for more.
A missing children alert has been issued for the girl, who is listed as being 100cm tall and weighing 10kg when she was last seen.
A notice about the girl's disappearance was also posted on the official Education Ministry Facebook page on Dec 28.