Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元) yesterday said he had information from the Malaysian officials that kidnapped Taiwanese tourist Chang An-wei (張安薇) may still be alive on an small island on the border of Malaysia and the Philippines. He said he hoped to meet with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak today to request his help keeping the hostage safe.
Chang was reported to have survived a shooting last week on Pom Pom Island, an island off Sabah in Malaysia’s part of Borneo. Her husband travel companion, 57-year-old Hsu Li-min (許立民), was found dead with two bullets in his chest on Friday.
Tsai wrote on his Facebook page that he hoped high-ranking officials in Malaysia could personally handle the matter and that the Malaysian police would make Chang’s safety the only consideration in their rescue efforts. He also said that he hoped that he could leave for Malaysia today.
“The police and local government officials often make extermination of the captors their top priority, which would put Chang in even more danger. The best example would be the Rizal Park hostage-taking incident in the Philippines in 2010, which resulted in the death of eight Hong Kong tourists,” he said.
Tsai said that Chang and Hsu are from Taipei and lived in his district. He said he hoped that the Malaysian government could quickly find channels of communication to negotiate with the kidnappers. He said that both Malaysian and Philippine governments should join forces to rescue the hostage.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said on Saturday that the Islamic militant group Abu Sayyaf from the southern Philippines was believed to be behind the incident. He said that terrorists were able to slip in to the resort because the Philippine government was mobilizing its armed forces nationwide to help out with the relief work of victims of Typhoon Haiyan, and they took advantage of the opportunity to commit the terrorist act.
The kidnappers have yet to demand a ransom, Malaysian police said.
Meanwhile, family members of the couple said they were scheduled to depart for Malaysia tomorrow morning to repatriate Hsu’s remains.
Chang An-wei’s brother, Chang Ta- kung (張大公), said in a TV interview that he and Hsu’s brother, Hsu Li-ren (許立人), would first identify the corpse at the hospital and cremate it so that Hsu’s nephews could bring the remains back to Taiwan. He and Hsu Li-ren would then go on to Pom Pom Island to identify items left at the crime scene, he said.
Chang Ta- kung has prepared some money to help save his sister. He showed reporters a text message that his sister sent before she was kidnapped.
“We are having fun on the island. Tell Mom that we will look out for our own safety and she need not worry,” she wrote.
Chang Ta- kung said that the family believed that Chang An-wei would come home safely.