KUALA LUMPUR - It was an hour past midnight when the plane from Shanghai landed at the KLIA2 and there were not many people left in the arrival hall to greet passengers.
But for Cheng Chau Yang and her eight-year-old son, who had been barred from leaving China for the past two years, it was a sweet homecoming on Wednesday as they were finally home in Malaysia to reunite with their family just in time for the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Now, she's looking forward to catching up with friends and also Malaysian food such as otak-otak, lobak and rojak.
"It feels so good to be home again. I have missed out on so many things," said Cheng.
Cheng, 42, and her son were stuck in China due to a legal tussle with her Chinese national ex-husband, who heads a US-based marketing research and consulting firm.
A Chinese court imposed the travel ban to secure the visitation rights of the boy's father after Chau Yang, who works with a multinational corporation in Shanghai, was granted sole custody of the child.
"I am feeling very grateful to so many people, friends and strangers who have signed the petition to help us and our leaders who have done so much for us. I feel so proud to be a Malaysian," she said.
Chau Yang has not been back to Malaysia for four years while her son has not been back for five."I plan to go back to China, but for the time being, we want to spend quality time with my family first," she said.
In a letter, Chau Yang's eldest sister Myra said the pair arrived here in the wee hours of Wednesday. She described it as "the best Mid-Autumn gift ever".
Myra said she wrote an open letter to Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman and China's Ambassador to Malaysia Dr Huang Huikang after Chau Yang's plight was first publicised in July.
"Anifah told us he would not and could not interfere with the Chinese legal system. However, on humanitarian grounds, he would help highlight our case to his Chinese counterpart."
The court in China later decided to take a closer look at the case, and upon reviewing the evidence again in accordance with Chinese laws, deemed as sufficient her sister's guarantee that Chau Yang would fulfil her legal obligation.
The court then lifted the ban.
Chau Yang's nightmare began in 2012 when her then husband abducted their son who holds Malaysian citizenship.
Unable to cope with the child's special dietary and medical needs due to severe eczema, he returned him to Chau Yang a week later.
In July 2013, he took the child away again when he was with a babysitter in Shanghai while Chau Yang was in Singapore for work.
Chau Yang filed for divorce in February 2014.
The Changning family court granted her sole custody of the child in December 2014 and the Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People's Court dismissed her husband's appeal in February 2015.
However, Chau Yang was told the custody order could not be enforced by Chinese authorities.
She later found her son in Changchun living under a fake identity with her ex-husband's elder sister in October 2015.