Kidnapped tourist returns home safe
By Chi-hao James Lo ,The China Post
December 22, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Chang An-wei (張安薇), the Taiwanese tourist kidnapped during her vacation to Malaysia more than a month ago, returned to Taiwan yesterday, following her release.
In the early morning of Nov. 15, Chang was abducted and taken hostage from a resort on Pom Pom Island, Sabah, East Malaysia after her companion Hsu Li-min (許立民) was fatally shot. Chang was taken to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, located in the southern Philippines, by militants affiliated with the Islamist separatist group Abu Sayyaf, according to the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB). She was held hostage for the next 36 days.
During her captivity, Chang reportedly volunteered for physical tasks such as cooking, wishing to gain the trust of her captors. Her efforts proved successful when she was given the opportunity to contact her brother for short periods of time. During their conversations, Chang was reportedly required to speak in English, but Chang would allegedly sneak in Shanghainese words which revealed her status.
Accompanied by her older brother Chang Ta-kong (張大公) as well as two other family members, Chang An-wei returned home to Taiwan after being reportedly released yesterday. The group boarded China Airlines flight CI-702 from Manila at 10:45 a.m. and landed in Taiwan around 1:16 p.m.
Chang was the last to alight due to issues with customs after losing her passport during her time as a hostage. The technicalities were promptly resolved with the aid of the Boarder Affairs Corps of the National Immigration Agency (NIA), which issued Chang a temporary entry permit shortly after her arrival.
Upon alighting from the plane, Chang was personally received by Commissioner Lin Teh-hua (林德華) of the CIB as well as representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NIA and the Aviation Police Office atop the airbridge. Chang was also presented with a packet of pork knuckle vermicelli as a welcoming gift from China Airlines, as in Chinese culture the dish is traditionally served symbolically to rid one of misfortunes.
Lin later held a press conference at 4:30 p.m. explaining the government's initial response to the situation and the subsequent strategies that were employed. As the specific case involved a Taiwanese tourist being taken from a Malaysian district to be held hostage by Filipino radical militants, Lin said, the success of the rescue was only possible through the establishment of a taskforce and cooperation between Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines.
With Chang Ta-kong in attendance, Lin also expressed his gratitude for the patience and trust the family extended to the bureau and its international associates, as the support from the family allowed the taskforce to conduct its mission and negotiations more efficiently.
Chang An-wei (張安薇), right, waves to reporters as she is escorted by airport personnel in Taoyuan, yesterday. Chang returned to Taiwan yesterday after having been held hostage for a ...