KOTA KINABALU, Dec 12 — About RM780,000 or 10 million pesos in ransom was believed to have been paid to terrorist group Abu Sayyaf foto secure the release of Malaysian fish breeder Chan Sai Chuin on Tuesday, according to a news report.
A report on The Star Online quoted Philippines sources in Jolo island as saying negotiators delivered the ransom to an Abu Sayyaf faction group, controlled by the Sawadjan brothers and led by one Al-Habsi Misaya.
The report said a ransom of 30 million pesos (RM2.34 million) was demanded initially but was later reduced.
“You must also take into consideration the operational expenditure and money to pay off emissaries, local officials and different faction leaders for a safe passage,” said the anonymous source.
It was learnt that some 10 million pesos or so reached the hands of the group prior to Chan’s release on Tuesday night after some six months of captivity.
Chan was snatched from a Kunak fish farm on June 16 by armed rebels. He was reportedly released on Tuesday and reached the shores of Sandakan by boat at about 6.45am Wednesday morning.
Described as being healthy despite having lost weight, Chan was reunited with his wife Chin Pek Nyen later in the day. The two have since kept a low profile and avoided calls from the media.
Relatives said that the couple might be returning to Ipoh, Perak, where they come from, to take a break.
Police, including State police commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman have remained tight lipped about the release, declining to make a statement.
It is believed that the gag order is in place to help secure the release of another Malaysian hostage - marine policeman Kons Zakiah Aleip, 26, who was abducted from Mabul island on July 12 while on duty.
However, the news report said that negotiations for Zakiah’s release hit a snag due to the disagreement over the amount of money delivered.
The sources said negotiations had resumed for Zakiah and that “it’s a question of money”.