Semporna kidnap: No ransom demand yet for Taiwanese woman

SEMPORNA - No ransom demand has been made so far for the abducted 58-year-old Taiwanese woman Chang An Wei who is believed to have been taken away by Filipino gunmen to southern Philippines.

"We have not received any calls as of now. We are still continuing our investigations," Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib said on Sunday morning.

Although her whereabouts are yet to be ascertained, police believe the Abu Sayyaf-linked gunmen could have taken her to one of the Tawi-Tawi chain of islands, a known hideout for kidnap-for-ransom groups.

Chang was kidnapped from the Pom Pom Island Resort after her 57-year-old husband Hsu Li Min was shot dead early Friday.

According to police sources here and in Tawi-Tawi, hostages who are brought over from Sabah were usually kept in jungle hideout in islands before they were moved to the Abu Sayyaf stronghold of Jolo island.

The demand for ransom would come when the hunt for the gunmen eases a bit and when they feel the hostage was secure in a safe place, they said.

They added that the kidnappers themselves might not be directly linked to the notorious Abu Sayyaf terror group but to splinter factions whose business was kidnap-for-ransom.

The sources also said that the same group of gunmen involved in previous kidnappings of Sabah were the main suspects in the Pom Pom case.

"We will only know the real identities of the gunmen or group involved when negotiations for the release of Chang begins through a middle man," said a source involved in previous kidnappings.

Meanwhile, life in Semporna town went on as usual and tourists including hoards of visitors from Taiwan continued to visit the islands including Pom Pom.

A fisherman who identified himself as Pitsu said they knew about the shooting and kidnapping but did not think it was something to worry about.

"Of course a person died and a woman is missing but things like this is not news to us, we hear about it all the time," he said.