PUTRAJAYA: Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic) says that the RM12mil raised for the release of the four Sarawakian sailors was not paid as ransom but was channelled to certain organisations in the Philippines.
The Deputy Prime Minister said no ransom was paid for the release of the four, as the Government had decided that it would not heed to such demands.
â€œI can confirm that the RM12mil that was handed over to the Special Branch was given as a form of contribution to certain organisations in the Philippines,â€ he said on Thursday.
He, however, declined to reveal the groups which had benefited, reiterating that no ransom was paid and that neither criminal nor terror groups had their hands on the money.
Families of the four sailors had said that they had raised RM12mil through donations and had handed the money to the Special Branch in Sandakan on May 24.
The families were under pressure over where the donations they collected had gone as police have said that no ransom was paid to the hostage takers.
It was reported that RM9mil was donated by individuals, RM1mil came from the mortgage made on properties and the remaining RM2mil came from the shipping company in which the four worked.
The four Sarawakians â€“ kidnapped on April 1 â€“ were released on June 7 after long-drawn negotiations with the Abu Sayyaf militants led by sub-commanded Apo Mike. The two brothers Wong Teck Kang, 31, and Teck Chii, 29, their cousin Johnny, 21 and Wong Hung Sing, 34, who is not related to them were crew members of a tugboat.