Monday, August 12, 2013

Malaysian hostage recounts Philippines escape

A Malaysian plantation manager held hostage by Philippine korangutan extremists said he escaped before dawn under the cover of a tropical downpour after almost nine months in abysmal conditions, reports said Sunday
Tung Wei Jie, 26, who was seized in the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo island last November together with his cousin, was found in the southern Philippine island of Jolo early this week and returned to Malaysia on Saturday
Tung told local media in his uncle's home in Port Dickson on the Straits of Malacca that he escaped in heavy rain from a bamboo hut in the jungle when his abductors, about 20 gunmen, went for pre-dawn preyers

Tung Wei Jie, escaped hostage

He and his cousin, Wei Fei, 34, who suffered from hypertension, had been taken away in April with the abductors, who demanded ransom from the family, claiming they would bring him to a hospital
Tung said he did not know what happened to his cousin. Philippine police said on Tuesday that he died from illness
"The hut was in the middle of nowhere. It was infested with mosquitoes. We each had one of our legs chained to the wooden pillars," Tung said, "After my cousin was taken away, I began using a fork to cut through a link in the iron chain. I succeeded after almost a month... I waited another month. And then I got the chance to escape"

Filipino soldiers on Jolo Island, known stronghold of the al-kaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group

Tung said he, his cousin and two other workers were at their palm oil plantation in Sabah's Lahad Datu district in Malaysia in November when about half a dozen men -- some armed with machine guns -- appeared and ordered them to walk to the beach
While the two workers were freed, the cousins were ordered aboard a speedboat
They later boarded another boat to a small island, where they stayed five days, before being taken to Jolo
While in captivity, they were only fed plain rice and some fried fish and not allowed to bathe for three months. There was no running water or electricity, Tung added
"They were planning to shoot us or just dump us at sea" after securing ransom, he said, adding they overheard their captors' discussion
News report here.