Daily Express
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Published on: Sunday, June 01, 2014

Penampang: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman on Saturday lauded the "great" cooperation between security forces from the Philippines and Malaysia in connection with the release of two women kidnapped from the Singamata Adventures and Reef Resort in Semporna.

Student Gao Hua Yuan, 29, from Shanghai and resort worker from Zamboanga, Philippines, Marcy Dayawan @ Mimi, who were abducted by seven gunmen from the Southern Philippines last April 2 were released by security forces on May 30.

"On behalf of the State Government I would like to extend my thanks to the security forces involved and our counterparts in the Philippines," he said during the closing of the State-level Kaamatan Harvest Festival celebrations, here.

He noted the operation, which led to the release of Gao and Marcy, was complex and required the coordination of all parties and cooperation between Philippines and Malaysia.

"Only through such great cooperation could they be released from their captors," he said.

Following their release, Marcy and Gao were flown back to Sandakan to take a connecting flight to Kota Kinabalu and spent the night, before leaving for Kuala Lumpur early Saturday.

To date, there had been no information when they will return to their respective homes. Both of them were victims of a kidnap-for-ransom group from the Southern Philippines in the East Coast of Sabah.

Meanwhile, Musa appealed to all quarters to give their cooperation to the security forces, adding that he also reminded Malaysian forces to always be on alert and ready to take action to avoid a repeat of the same incident.

The release of Gao and Marcy also got the attention of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Friday, who on his Twitter account said no ransom was paid for the release of the two women.

However, police are still checking Marcy for possible involvement in the abduction, State police chief Datuk Hamza Taib said.

Marcy will be repatriated to the Philippines once it is ascertained the 40-year-old resort worker was not part of the incident, he said.

"If we are sure that Mimi was not involved in the Singamata resort kidnap, she will be sent back to her family in the Philippines," he said.

Hamza said Dayawan has since been interviewed by state and federal police.

Dayawan did not possess a work permit or valid travel documents during her employment at the Singamata Reef Resort.

Gao Huayun who was released by her Abu Sayyaf kidnappers in Jolo on Friday, is expected to be reunited with her family in Shanghai later Saturday.

Gao and Marcy were flown with Bukit Aman security personnel from Kota Kinabalu to Kuala Lumpur at 6am Saturday.

She is believed to have caught a connecting flight to Shanghai at 9am.

Marcy, however, is remaining here for the time being, said Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.

"As for the Filipina, we will see first as we are still checking her documents," Khalid said.

Khalid said Gao was still undergoing trauma but was eager to return home.

Two police officers reportedly arrived in Jolo Saturday to escort both Gao and Dermawan, 40, from a camp in Jolo after months of negotiations between the Malaysian, Chinese and Filipino authorities and the Abu Sayyaf group.

They were later taken to Sandakan at 4.30pm and then sent to Kota Kinabalu at 9.25pm.

A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Malaysia expressed thanks to the Malaysian authorities for their help in securing the release of their national.