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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

RM12 million given to cops, insists hostages' kin

The families of four former Abu Sayyaf hostages insist that they gave the RM12 million meant for ransom to the police.

This comes after inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar denied that police had received the money.

“I still maintain what I have earlier said, which is that RM12 million was sent to Sandakan through the bank.

"If the public has any doubts, they can enquire from Hong Leong Bank,” the families’ spokesperson Lau Cheng Kiong was quoted as saying in The Borneo Post.

He declined to comment further on the matter, as the families want to put the matter to rest and move on with their lives.

Lau is the uncle of former hostage Johnny Lau. The others held were Wong Teck Kang, Wong Teck Chii, and Wong Hung Shin.

Meanwhile, Sin Chew Daily reported that it was unable to contact the father of brothers Teck Kang and Teck Chii, while an unnamed member of Lau’s family declined to comment, asking that the matter be put to rest.

“We have already said what should have been said; what shouldn’t have been said have also been said,” the family member was quoted as saying.

The four were kidnapped from a tugboat off the coast of Sabah on April 1, and the militant group had reportedly demanded a ransom of RM18 million.

Their families had appealed for donations to secure their freedom, but came under public scrutiny when the police announced that the hostages had been freed without any ransom being paid.

The families claimed they had already passed the money in the form of 12 cheques to the police Special Branch, totalling RM12 million.

Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi claimed that the RM12 million had been channelled to Islamic charity groups in the Philippines.

However, Khalid subsequently denied that the Special Branch had received the money in the first place.

He added that Zahid was referring to a third party agent when the home minister said that the money had gone to charity.

Meanwhile in the Philippines, The Manila Times reported that the Abu Sayyaf were incensed after learning from news reports that the families had managed to raise RM12 million (P130 million), but only P100 (RM8.8 million) reached them.

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