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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Zahid says RM12 million not to Abu Sayyaf but given to Islamic groups

PUTRAJAYA - The RM12 million raised to secure the release of the four Sarawakian seafarers was paid to Filipino Islamic groups and not the militants who abducted them, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

During a press conference held at the Home Ministry offices, reported Ahmad Zahid as saying that the government did not recognise kidnap-for-ransom activities and would not use funds for such purposes.

“The RM12 million given to the PDRM Special Branch was collected from the public as well as the (the family’s) selling of assets, and I can confirm that the money was channelled not as ransom money, but to certain bodies in the Philippines,” he said, although he could not reveal the Filipino agencies that received the money as this was a police matter.

He said, however, that he would direct the Royal Malaysia Police to issue a statement to inform the public about the move.

The deputy prime minister also insisted that the RM12 million was “definitely not” kept by the police.

“They (the Filipino recipients) are all legal agencies, some dealing with welfare and various other legal activities,” he explained.

Datuk Lau Cheng Kiong, an uncle to one of the freed hostages revealed yesterday (June 15) that RM12 million was raised to ransom the four men and given to the police on May 24.

Brothers Wong Teck Kang, 31, and Teck Chii, 29, their cousin Lau Jung Hien and Wong Hung Sing, 34, were kidnapped from a barge, MV Massive 6, in the waters off Pulau Ligitan on April 1 while returning to Tawau, Sabah after sending a cargo of wood to Manila.

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