S'porean tracks down missing brother in Istanbul

S'porean tracks down missing brother in Istanbul
Mr Yang Tiong Wei (left), 34, and his brother Tiong Hock, 39, were reunited yesterday at Istanbul University's medicine faculty.

The Singaporean who flew to Istanbul last Saturday night to look for his missing brother has found him, thanks to a stroke of luck.

About six hours before his flight to the capital city of Turkey, Mr Yang Tiong Hock received an e-mail from a Turkish psychologist, who had stumbled onto his Facebook page asking for information on his brother.

She told him the details reminded her of a patient she was treating.

With information from her, the siblings were reunited yesterday at Istanbul University's medicine faculty, where Mr Yang Tiong Wei, a kitchen helper, was being held for observation.

But why the 34-year-old flew to Istanbul and how he ended up in a medical facility there remain a mystery.

"He's still pretty confused at times," Mr Yang, 39, an engineer, told The Straits Times in a phone call from the Turkish city.

"He's trying to recall how he landed there, but we don't want to stress him out either."

Even the Turkish psychologist, who spoke little English, was not able to provide much information.

The engineer added, however, that his brother recognised him and seemed to be in good physical condition.

The younger Mr Yang has bipolar disorder, and left home last Tuesday morning with little or no medication.

The next day, a family member managed to contact him and found out he was in Turkey.

He had withdrawn all $4,000 from his bank account and bought a $3,100 ticket for Israel that transited in Istanbul, but he did not get onto the connecting flight.

Mr Yang Tiong Hock said he had "mixed feelings" upon finally being reunited with his brother.

"I was super elated, of course. But on the other hand, I have so many questions," he said.

On the Facebook page set up to help find his brother, Mr Yang thanked everyone who had helped him, including The Straits Times.

"I'm really deeply grateful to a lot of kind Samaritans," he said.

Some had offered him a place to stay while he was in Istanbul, while others volunteered to take him around the city to put up missing person notices.

The brothers want to return to Singapore as soon as they can, but this is difficult because the younger Mr Yang has lost his passport and a replacement might not arrive until Thursday.

"I don't think I can wait until Thursday," said his older brother.

"I want to get an assessment done as soon as possible by his own doctors.

"We're not experts, so we wouldn't know if there's anything wrong."

linettel@sph.com.sg

This article was published on April 21 in The Straits Times.

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