Abducted Korean dies in southern Philippines

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Abducted Korean dies in southern Philippines

The body of a Korean man held in captivity for 10 months by a kidnap-for-ransom terrorist group in the Philippines was found on a street in the remote Sulu province.

An official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told reporters Sunday that the victim, only identified by the surname Hong, 74, was discovered abandoned on a street on Saturday.

The government said it was still confirming that the remains were those of Hong, who was abducted by the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf in January while he was visiting his son’s residence in Zamboanga Sibugay province, which is also in the southern Philippines a distance from Sulu.

About eight armed men in police uniforms stormed the residence Jan. 24 and attempted to kidnap all five Koreans there. The group fought back and only Hong was abducted.

Hong’s body appeared to show no signs of physical injuries, according to the Associated Press, sparking speculation that he died from an illness.

“Once the body is identified, we will cooperate with the authorities there to identify the cause of his death,” said the official.

The abductors demanded a ransom of 500 million pesos ($10.6 million) for Hong’s release. Hong’s family and the Korean government had been in negotiations with the group to get him back. The news of Hong’s death has reinforced worries for Koreans living in the Philippines, for 10 Koreans, including Hong, have been murdered this year in the country.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]

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