Malaysian honeymoon interrupted by abduction
Journalist Li Xue, 30, had been planning a relaxing honeymoon under the Sabah sun away from the pressures of work for the last two months.
Instead, she made headlines in China on Thursday after reporting an armed raid and kidnapping.
“I was not scared because the police arrived very quickly,” said Li, an editor from Western China Metropolis Daily in Chengdu, Sichuan province, who was staying at a resort in the easternmost Malaysian state. “I felt angry at the kidnappers and what they had done. And I was disappointed that my honeymoon was ruined.”
Li was the first Chinese witness to report the incident in which six gunmen stormed the resort and abducted two women — a 29-year-old Chinese tourist and a 40-year-old hotel worker from the Philippines. The gunmen escaped in a speedboat.
Li said she was about to go to bed when she heard women screaming and the sounds of people scattering in panic.
A few moments later, Li, whose room was only a few meters away from the abduction, heard a speedboat engine rev up and then fade into the night. With her husband and two friends, Li had arrived four days earlier on her first visit to Malaysia.
About 10 minutes after the incident, she said, the hotel asked about 60 guests, including senior citizens and
Maybe I will not visit Malaysia anymore, at least not Sabah. It’s too close to the Philippines.” LI XUE EDITOR AT WESTERN CHINA METROPOLIS DAILY
children, to gather in the canteen, where the abduction was explained.
When they learned that the resort had been raided and armed men may still be in the vicinity, the guests lay on the floor, Li said.
Hotel workers later helped Li and the guests get to safe places in the nearby town or at the airport.
Almost all the guests left or planned to leave ahead of schedule, but Li said she would stay in Malaysia as planned until April 7.
On Thursday, when she should have been enjoying her honeymoon, she was filing news reports and giving interviews to many Chinese news organizations.
“Maybe I will not visit Malaysia anymore, at least not Sabah,” she said. “It’s too close to the Philippines.”
Sabah is a popular destination for Chinese tourists, but it faces persistent security problems because of its proximity to the restive southern Philippines.
Insurgents occupying nearby islands have carried out similar kidnappings of tourists in the region before, seeking ransom.
Terrified tourists hide in the lobby of the resort hotel where a Chinese tourist was kidnapped near Pulau Bum-Bum in Semporna, Malaysia, on Wednesday evening.