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Philippine military frees tourist from gunmen

PETALING JAYA -- A Taiwanese tourist who was kidnapped from Pom Pom island off Sabah on Nov. 15 has been rescued by Philippines security forces, said IGP Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.

In his Tweet, Khalid congratulated the Philippines for successfully rescuing Chang An-wei.

“The victim was rescued in Sulu and transported to Merin Hospital there.

“She will be flown to Zamboanga City tomorrow,” Khalid said, adding that the Philippines authorities will divulge more details and further development in the matter.

In the incident on Nov. 15, gunmen shot dead Chang's husband and took her away in a raid on the resort of Pulau Pom Pom off Semporna in the east coast of Sabah.

They had arrived in a pump boat about 1 a.m.

Initial reports indicate that gunmen landed on the water villas of Pom Pom Island Resort and Spa and ransacked three of six villas including the one occupied by the victim Lim Min-hsu, 57, and Chang, 58.

At the time of the raid, there were 48 tourists and staff on the island, but it could not be ascertained if all of them have been accounted for.

There were no details of who the gunmen were and if they were linked to any Filipino groups from the neighboring southern Philippines.

The resort is about 1 kilometer away from the General Operation Force (GOF) and tight security has been maintained on the waters stretching from Semporna to Lahad Datu in the Celebes and Sulu seas since the Sulu armed group attack on Lahad Datu in February.

According to initial accounts of the shooting in Pulau Pom Pom, a 45-minute boat ride from Semporna, a supervisor at the resort heard gunshots at about 1am on Friday and immediately informed the GOF post.

Immediately, about a dozen GOF personnel rushed to the resort where they found the body of Lim with two gunshot wounds along the corridor.

His wife however was missing and she was believed to have been kidnapped by the gunmen who were last heard heading toward Pulau Mataking near the Philippines waters.

In late August, nine fishermen from Semporna reported being abducted by Filipino gunmen who wanted directions to the Pulau Mabul diving haven.

They were later abandoned at sea when the gunmen spotted a GOF post near the resort and fled.

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