Semporna resort kidnap: Area has history of abduction cases

Semporna resort kidnap: Area has history of abduction cases
Taiwanese Chang An Wei at the Taoyuan International airport after her release.

PETALING JAYA - The abduction of two women from the Singamata Reef Resort off Semporna is one of the many kidnapping incidents that have happened in Sabah shores over the years.

In Oct 1979, armed men hijacked a ferry, the Saleha Baru, with 44 people on board off Semporna.

The men released 27 hostages within two days, but 17 were detained for months before they were finally released.

Two passengers were killed in the incident, an 11-year-old girl who drowned and a man who was shot by the hijackers.

In April 23, 2000, an Abu Sayyaf-led group kidnapped 21 people from Pulau Sipadan.

They were taken to their camp in Jolo Island where they were held for six months. They were released in stages with the last released in Sept 11 the same year.

On Sept 12, 2000, 14 men in two speedboats armed with M-16 rifles kidnapped three Malaysians from Pulau Padanan, 38km northeast of Semporna.

The hostages were rescued when Philippine armed forces launched an offensive against the rebels several days later.

On Feb 8, 2010, two Malaysians working at a seaweed farm in Pulau Sebangkat were captured by unidentified gunmen. The two, Lai Wing Chau, 35, and Tsen Vui Chung, 43, were held captive for more than 10 months before being released on Tawi-Tawi Island in the southern Philippines.

Two years later in Nov 14, 2012, cousins Tung Wee Jie and Wee Wei were kidnapped from their family-run bird's nest farm in Lahad Datu.

Wee Jie, 26, was able to escape from his kidnappers by unshackling himself using a fork after being held captive for almost nine months on Jolo Island.

His cousin, Wee Wei, unfortunately did not survive the ordeal and died while in captivity.

In 2013, two incidents occurred, the first on Aug 27, when about 20 armed men abducted nine Malaysian fishermen from two boats near Mabul Island.

However, the gunmen immediately released the victims and fled after they were tricked by their captives into sailing to a General Operations Force post near Mabul Island. On Nov 15, armed men raided three of five water villas at Pom Pom Island. During the raid, Taiwanese tourist Hsu Lin Min, 57, was killed, and his wife Chang An Wei, 58 was abducted.

After 36 days, she was released by her abductors and was recovered from the southern Philippine island of Jolo.

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