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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Threat to behead Malaysian hostages of Abu Sayyaf looms again

KOTA KINABALU - The threat of execution hangs over the four abducted Malaysian sailors after Abu Sayyaf militants in the southern Philippines set an “early” May deadline for talks to begin for their release.

Anti-kidnapping activist Prof. Octavio Dinampo said killing captives appeared to be easier for the gunmen now, following the beheading of Malaysian Bernard Then in Nov. 17 last year and Canadian John Ridsdel on April 25 in Jolo island.

“They have no qualms about executing their hostages. They don’t have any conscience and are willing to carry out their brutal acts,” he told The Star on Wednesday.

He added that the beheadings were not only carried out to pressure the families and governments of the remaining captives to negotiate for their release, but were also to get rid of those who were sick and ailing.

Octavio said Philippine military operations had forced the militants and their captives to be on the move constantly in the mountainous interior of Jolo island.
Hostages who were slow and weak were executed as a result.

The four sailors – Sarawakians Wong Teck Kang, 31, Wong Hung Sing, 34, Wong Teck Chii, 29, and Johnny Lau Jung Hien, 21 – were abducted by Abu Sayyaf gunmen in the waters off Ligitan Island in Sabah on April 1.

They were part of a nine-member crew aboard a tugboat which was returning from the Philippines to Malaysia.

The gunmen, in telephone calls to the victims’ families, reportedly set an early May deadline for them to begin negotiations for the hostages’ release.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said on May 4 that intelligence reports indicated that the four Malaysian captives had been treated well by the gunmen and were safe and healthy.
Negotiations ongoing for family members of Sibu hostages
SIBU - Police officers in Malaysia have accompanied two family members of the four hostages from Sibu to the Philippines to settle a matter related to the kidnapping.

Wong Chee Ming, father of kidnapped brothers Teck Kang and Teck Chii confirmed this today (May 11), saying the two were still in the Philippines with the police.

He could not reveal any more details, only that they were cooperating fully with the police to secure the release of the four.

The other two are Wong Hung Sing and Johnny Lau.

Chee Ming said that the money they had raised for their ransom was left untouched, and that they would need to seek approval from the police before they could use the sum in relation to the kidnapping.

“So I want to assure public members here that the donation is untouched and is under the watchful eyes of the police. We cannot touch it now. We have to deal with this delicate situation carefully in accordance with police’s advice to ensure the safety of the four.”

Chee Ming also confirmed the last call he received from his son Teck Kang was on April 23 while the four were in captivity.

The four were kidnapped by a militant group from the Southern Philippines on April 1 at 7pm when they were sailing in a tug boat from the Philippines to Tawau. The two Wong brothers and Johnny Lau are cousins.

Chee Ming said today: “We are leaving the safety of our kidnapped family members to the police. We let them wholly take charge. We are cooperating and we are waiting anxiously.” - BP

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