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Fri, Feb 02, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Philippine gunmen kidnap Taiwan man near Manila airport

By Monique Chu  /  STAFF REPORTER

A Taiwanese man visiting Manila was kidnapped on Tuesday by a pair of gun-toting men, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

According to the ministry, Chang Ming-wen (張明文), 38, and his girlfriend, Hung Yi-ting (洪憶婷), 32, hired a taxi Tuesday afternoon to take them from Manila's international airport to Makati, a fashionable district of Manila.

Ten minutes into the ride, two gun-wielding men boarded the taxi while the vehicle was stopped in a narrow lane.

After about another hour's driving, the taxi stopped in a remote area, where Hung was robbed of a diamond ring, watch and 50,000 pesos (US$1,050).

One of the armed men then left with Chang, while Hung was told by the other gunman and the taxi driver to prepare a ransom for her boyfriend.

Hung was then dropped off at another site and warned not to tell the authorities of the kidnapping, or else Chang would be harmed.

Hung reported the case to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines.

"The [Manila] office immediately sent related personnel to accompany her to report the case to local police and the investigation bureau," said Henry Chen (陳銘政), the foreign ministry's spokesman. "We urge the police and the investigation bureau in the Philippines to resolve the case as soon as possible. And we have also asked the local police to help protect Miss Hung's safety."

Hung, who is currently staying at the Bayview Hotel in Manila, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Lin Kuo-tung (林國棟), deputy commissioner of the Criminal Investigation Bureau, said the agency has been following the case through "private connections" in Manila.

Meanwhile, Philippine police have urged travelers to be on their guard, as the country is going through a period of political instability.

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