Korean couple in Philippines missing 6 months

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Korean couple in Philippines missing 6 months

A Korean married couple living in the Philippines has been missing since April, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here Monday.

The elderly couple was last seen on April 23 at around 8 a.m., when they took a ship leaving from Samar Island. The ministry said the couple had lived in Mindanao, in the southern Philippines, for about a year. No further details on the pair were revealed.

As soon as the disappearance of the married couple was reported, the ministry said it began tracing their whereabouts in cooperation with the Korean Embassy in the Philippines and local police and Coast Guard.

Korea currently has a travel ban on some parts of Mindanao due to safety concerns following several violent crimes against its nationals in the region.

The Korean government last November implemented the travel ban on regions in Mindanao, including Zamboanga and Sulu, after a 74-year-old Korean man surnamed Hong was found dead in October, nearly 10 months after being kidnapped for ransom by the Islamist terrorist group Abu Sayyaf in Zamboanga in January 2015.

Earlier this month, three middle-aged Koreans were found dead in a sugarcane field in the rural town of Bacolor, northwest of Manila, with gunshot wounds to their heads. Six Koreans were killed in the Philippines this year. Last year, 11 Koreans were killed in the country. Some 88,000 Koreans live in the Philippines.

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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