KOTA KINABALU - Fish farm manager Chan Sai Chuin was given a VIP treatment when he was held hostage in the southern Philippines, according to his wife.
Chin Pek Nyen, 42, said her husband told relatives that the kidnappers made sure he was well taken care of.
"They made sure he stayed healthy and ate well. They talked properly to him, not angrily or vulgarly. If they saw him bitten by mosquitoes, one of the abductors would immediately give him an ointment to rub.
"They were not as scary as we perceived them to be, but then, we never know what these people are capable of if their demands are not met," she said when contacted yesterday.
Chan, 32, who was kidnapped by Filipino gunmen during a raid at the farm in Kunak on June 16, was released about half a year later after negotiators apparently delivered ransom money to the Abu Sayyaf group.
It is understood that Chan was freed at about 11.30pm on Dec 9, following lengthy negotiations between Filipino emissaries and the Abu Sayyaf group led by the Sadawan brothers in Jolo.
He is now in the peninsula with Chin, spending time with family and relatives and will only return to Sabah in a few days.
Chin said her husband was "not himself" when he arrived home, but was now "back to his usual chirpy self".
"He is fine now. He sleeps and eats well. Most of our time now is spent catching up with family and relatives," she said.
He told her that he spent a lot of time working out during captivity.
"He is a very fit man now, unlike the chubby guy he was prior to his kidnap," she said.
According to Chin, her husband said the abductors often told him stories about other kidnapped victims, including marine police Kons Zakiah Aleip who was taken from the Mabul Water Bungalows in Semporna on July 12.
He, however, never met the policeman as they were held by separate groups.
The kidnappers also told him about the amounts of ransom money they received, Chin said.