Formerly missing toddler of couple from Singapore now with social workers

Formerly missing toddler of couple from Singapore now with social workers
Angie, two, and businessman Yap, 52, who handed her over to the police on Sunday. The couple who "adopted" her apparently had their statements taken.
PHOTO: Yap Yeen Min

A two-year-old girl who went missing for weeks and was reportedly "adopted" by a couple in Singapore is now being cared for by social workers in Johor.

The case is still under investigation, said Johor police chief Wan Ahmad Najmuddin Mohd. He met Malaysian press yesterday morning at the state police headquarters, a 10-minute drive from the Causeway.

The toddler, Angie Tiong, was handed to the social welfare team on Sunday and was taken to Hospital Sultanah Aminah for a routine medical check-up.

The couple who "adopted" her are Malaysians and permanent residents in Singapore, added the police chief. They are believed to have recorded their statements in a Johor police station yesterday.

Angie was reported missing by her father on Dec 10. But there was a twist in the tale when it was reported that it was the 33-year-old father himself who took the girl away from her Johor Baru home where she was being cared for by relatives on Nov 9 last year.

Malaysia Chinese newspaper China Press reported that the toddler was abandoned by her Vietnamese mother and was "adopted" by a childless married couple in Singapore. Her relatives suspected her father had "sold" her.

The father, who has a history of substance abuse, later told the police that he handed his child to a man in Johor, who gave him RM12,000 (S$4,000).

The Johor police chief said the father, who was questioned by the Johor police, has been released.

Yap Yeen Min, a 52-year-old businessman, handed Angie to the police on Sunday.

Mr Yap, who is the founder of Johor Temple Foundation, has been in contact with the couple after they sought his help over the case.

Mr Yap told The Straits Times that he picked Angie up from the couple's parents' place from Ipoh. But he declined to give details on how the couple came to "adopt" Angie.

"I will leave it to them to tell the media," he said, adding that they will hold a press conference in Johor Baru today.

According to the Ministry of Social and Family Development, it generally takes between five and seven months from application to approval from the court for an adoption. Adoption of a foreign child takes longer as it involves a Home Study Report and application of Dependant's Pass for the child.

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