Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Filipino kidnappers demand ransoms for 2 Malaysian hostages

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Sept. 15, 2010) – Filipino gunmen holding two Malaysian seaweed farmers have demanded two million ringgits in exchange for their safe release, reports said.

The duo - Tsen Vui Chung, 42, and his cousin Lai Wing Chau, 33, - were seized in February from their farm in the island of Pulau Sebangkit in Sabah and were taken to Tawi-Tawi province in the southern Philippines.

Malaysian authorities initially said the kidnapping was connected to a labor dispute among workers in the seaweed farm and that the hostages are being held in Sabah.

But Malaysia’s The Star newspaper reported on Wednesday that the kidnappers have demanded ransoms to the families of the hostages.

“We are ordinary people. Where can we find such money?” The star quoted Tsen's wife, Chua Mui Ling, who confirmed the ransom demand.

The woman claimed they received a phone call just recently from Tsen who said they are okay and were not harmed by their captors. It was the second time the kidnappers contacted the family since the duo was seized.

It was unknown whether the kidnappers are members of the militant group Abu Sayyaf, which had kidnapped 21 mostly Western holidaymakers in Sabah’s resort island of Sipadan in 2001. The hostages were then ransomed off to Libya, which negotiated for their release, for millions of dollars. (Mindanao Examiner)

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