By: Elena Grace Flores
130 million Pesos was raised by families and friends of the kidnapped Malaysian sailors who were taken forcibly by the Abbu Sayyaf Group last April. However, only P100 million ranson for the four Malaysians reached the kidnappers. Rumors had it that government officials from both Malaysia and the Philippines kept the remaining 30 million to be divided among themselves as commissions. Regardless, brothers Wong Teck Kang, 31, and Teck Chii, 29; their cousin Johnny, 21; and co-worker Wong Hung Sing, 34 were all safe and now back to Malaysia.
The abdusction took place off Sabah then they were released in Jolo, Sulu, on June after a lengthy negotiations with the rebels led by a certain Apo Mike. The news became a sensation in Malaysia but still have to be absorbed by the Philippine media. The lump sum was believed to be coursed through a special branch of the Malaysian police and given to local officials in Sulu before the hand off to the ASG happened. It was reported that Malaysia knew that there’s a P30 million kickback by officials from both countries but this has not been confirmed by the local negotiators in Sulu.
The deputy Prime Minister justified the action by saying RM12 million was not paid to the kidnappers but to “legally and religiously sanctioned” organizations and agencies in the Philippines. However, religious organizations involved were not identified but a Malaysian official confirmed that the RM12 million that was handed over to the Special Branch was given as a form of contribution to certain organizations in the Philippines.” As per The Manila Times; there is credence to allegations by Jolo Mayor Hussin Amin that some local officials, probably including the military, may have colluded with the ASG, which recently beheaded Canadian Robert Hall. Another Canadian, John Ridsdel, was executed by the group in April when the group’s ransom demand was ignored- so as not to tolerate this insurgent activity that will put many travellers’ life at risk.