KUALA LUMPUR - The family of Gao Huayun should be wary of con men claiming to have connections in rescuing the kidnap victim, said a former abductee's relative who was involved in negotiating for her release.
Taiwanese Richard Chang, whose sister Chang An Wei, 59, was kidnapped from Pom Pom Island Resort off Semporna in Sabah last year by gunmen, said there would be many unscrupulous people, including so-called community leaders and officers, trying to cash in.
"Be extra careful when dealing with them," he warned.
When contacted over the phone from Taiwan on Saturday night, Richard said he clearly understood and could feel the pain and suffering of those families whose members had been kidnapped.
"Stay calm and strong while preparing for long-haul negotiation. Of course, it is easier said than done but you must not lose faith and hope," he added.
Gao, a 29-year-old Chinese tourist from Shanghai, and Filipina resort worker Marcy Dayawan, 40, were abducted by Abu Sayyaf gunmen from the Singamata Reef Resort, not far from Pom Pom island, last Wednesday.
One of the kidnappers is believed to have been involved in An Wei's abduction.
Chang urged the Gaos not to get too anxious over Huayun's safety, saying the gunmen guarding his sister had treated her quite well.