SIBU: The families of the four Sarawakian sailors who were released by Abu Sayyaf captors clarified that all donations received to secure the hostages freedom were handed over to the police.
Datuk Lau Cheng Kiong, the uncle of one of the hostages, Johnny Lau Jung Hien, said RM12mil had been handed over to the Special Branch in Sandakan, Sabah, on May 24.
â€œWe handed the amount which were in 12 Hong Leong Bank cheques of RM1mil each which were kept in a bag to the Special Branch in Sandakan between 4pm and 6pm on May 24.
â€œAll the money raised had been handed to them and we did not keep a single sen,” Cheng Kiong said.
When contacted, Bukit Amanâ€™s Special Branch director Comm Datuk Seri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said he had no comments on the allegations.
Cheng Kiong said the family had to clarify the matter as the donors and public wanted to know what happened to the money.
â€œThose who need further clarification can always look for the Special Branch and Hong Leong Bank in Sandakan. These are money from public donation. We have no right to keep them,” he said.
Cheng Kiong said of the RM12mil, RM9mil were donated by individuals, RM1mil were raised from the mortgage on two family houses in Pulau Li Hua and the balance of RM2mil from the shipping company where the four worked for.
â€œAfter setting up a Facebook appealing for public help, we received response from people and even as far as Papua New Guinea, Taiwan, China, Solomon Island and Malaysia.
â€œPeople who gave big amounts do not want their names to be revealed,” he said.
Cheng Kiong said the families thanked all those who had responded to their appeal for help to secure for the release of the four.
The four were kidnapped on April 1 and released last Tuesday night after long drawn and tense negotiations with the Abu Sayyaf led by sub-commander Apo Mike. – The Star