Anxiety grows for Malaysian abducted by Abu Sayyaf

KUALA LUMPUR - The family of Kunak fish farm manager held hostage by Abu Sayyaf gunmen are getting increasingly anxious as the countdown to his beheading looms in less than three weeks.

The terror group in southern Philippines has given the family till the end of November to pay a RM3mil (S$1.2mil) ransom, failing which they have threatened to send his head back.

It has left the family of the 32-year-old Chan Sai Chiun despe­rate as they are unable to raise the sum demanded.

Chan's wife Chin Pek Nyuen (pic), 42, was also told by the gunmen last month that they were losing patience over the delays in paying the ransom.

She has been receiving endless calls from them, especially over the last two days.

"They told me not to lie and not to play around. They threatened to chop his head off. If they kill him, I want to die as well. I can't sleep at all at night," she told The Star with tears in her eyes.

"The family has only raised RM140,000 in ransom money. I am not sure if we will be able to raise the RM3mil ransom."

In desperation, the family went to Parliament earlier this month to highlight the forgotten case to Malaysian politicians.

The last time Chin spoke to her husband was in August. The kidnappers call her every few days from a Philippine number.

"The same person has been talk­ing to me all the time. They say they are not afraid and have even kidnapped a Malaysian policeman. They don't allow me to talk to my husband now," she said.

She added that the kidnappers had even told her how she should raise the money - by selling her possessions and property, asking family members and even asking the Government.

Chin has lost more than 10kg but sleep and food are the furthest things from her mind since her husband's abduction by the Filipino gunmen from his Kunak fish farm on June 16.

"I think of him all the time. When it rains, I wonder if he is cold. I can't even finish my food not knowing if he has been given proper food or not," she said of her husband of six years.

Chan's younger brother, Soi Weng, said his parents spent almost 10 hours a day praying for his safe return. Chan is the fourth child in the family.

"My father doesn't want to see my brother go before him," he said, describing his brother as a filial son who would call his parents every few days.

Since his abduction, Chan, who originates from Segamat, Johor, has been held at an undisclosed location in the southern Philippine island of Jolo.

Abu Sayyaf gunmen are also holding marine policeman Kons Zakiah Aleip, 26, who was abducted from Pulau Mabul on July 12.

With the Philippine military wa­­ging an all-out offensive against the Abu Sayyaf following the release of a German couple with a purported ransom of RM18mil paid last month, the gunmen are believed to have moved deeper into the mountainous jungle of Jolo with the two Malaysians and at least eight other hostages including foreigners.