After spending almost two weeks worrying about his wife's and daughter's whereabouts, a Singaporean taxi driver can finally rest easy knowing that they are safe and sound in Romania.
Appearing in an interview with Romanian broadcaster Pro TV, his daughter, Miss Cheryl Yap Lay Leng, 25, said she travelled to Romania to meet her boyfriend Alexandru Donea, 18, whom she had met over social media two years ago.
Miss Yap and her mother, housewife Foo Li Kheng, 61, have been staying with Mr Donea and his family in their home in Vulturesti, a village commune in Olt County, about 150km from the capital Bucharest.
On Tuesday night, Romanian police posted a photo of mother and daughter, flanked by policemen and an unknown man in black, on their Facebook page as "proof" of their safety.
The police said the two women were not victims of a crime.
Pro TV also reported that Miss Yap and Mr Donea bonded over their interest in Japanese manga and decided to meet in person.
After they met in person for the first time, Miss Yap said that they 'fell in love', and that she was willing to stay in Romania for Mr Donea, reported Romanian media.
She also said that her mother was shocked when she first learnt about Mr Donea but has slowly come to accept their relationship.
Miss Yap apologised for causing her family back in Singapore to worry and said it took a lot of courage for her to make the trip.
Although Mr Donea's parents don't speak English, they have "welcomed us with open arms".
The two women's "disappearance" on Jan 22 was first reported in Shin Min Daily News on Monday.
Miss Yap's father, a 59-year-old taxi driver who gave his name only as Mr Yap, said he had come home to find his wife and daughter gone without a trace.
Their passports were also gone and, according to Mr Yap, they had taken about $50,000 with them.
Mr Yap later found out from his daughter's credit card statement that she had bought air tickets to Romania.
Worried that they had fallen victim to scammers as they had left without his knowledge and were uncontactable, Mr Yap made a police report.
The story made headlines and was picked up by Romanian media.
According to Shin Min, the mother and daughter came forward to the police after seeing their faces on Romanian television.
Speaking to Shin Min, Mr Yap, who had been unable to sleep or eat properly since the disappearance of his wife and daughter, expressed relief over news of their safety.
"I can finally sleep peacefully tonight," he said after a 10-minute phone call with his wife.
Shin Min reported that during the call made at 1am yesterday, which was around 7pm in Romania, Madam Foo said they were all right and told him not to worry.
She also said they intended to stay in Romania for one or two more months, to which Mr Yap agreed.
Mr Donea also apologised to Mr Yap over the phone.
However, Mr Yap's daughter did not speak with him on the phone as she was afraid that he would scold her, reported Shin Min.
Mr Yap said: "I haven't seen them for such a long time, I miss them and I feel sad.
"As long as they return safely, I will not scold her because there's no use in scolding her."
This article was first published on February 4, 2016.
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