Abductors holding the Chinese tourist who was kidnapped from a resort in Sabah made a phone call to her family in Shanghai, according to the Malaysia Chronicle.
“The call was made by a representative of the gunmen who informed the family that victims are safe,” Datuk Mohammad Mentek, director-general of the security command in Sabah, was quoted as saying.
“However, as far as I know no demand has been made,” he said.
Philippine security forces believe that 29-year-old Gao Huyuan is being held on Jolo island in the southern Philippines, AFP reports.
According to hotel staff, at least five or six gunmen raided the Singamata Reef Resort around 10:30 p.m. last Wednesday, taking Gao and a 40-year-old hotel employee named Marcy Dayawan with them.
The Abu Sayyaf, a group of militants with a track record of kidnapping for ransom, are suspects in the abduction, according to security officials. They believe that the kidnappers are connected with Murphy Ambang Lidjia, who was involved in another large-scale abduction at a resort in Sabah in 2000. The AFP reports that the group was set up in the 1990s with seed money from Osama bin Laden.
The Philippine military said that troops were intensely searching remote areas and islands which are known hotbeds of the Abu Sayyaf.