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ASG hostage’s body found

A Korean seized by the Abu Sayyaf Group nine months ago was found dead Saturday in Patikul, Sulu, the military said yesterday.

Brig. Gen. Alan Arrojado, commander, Joint Task Group Sulu, said the body of Nwi Seong Hong, 73, was found by civilians at around 10:30 p.m. in the vicinity of Sulu State College in Barangay Bangkal.

The victim’s body was reportedly placed in a sack.

Arrojado said authorities were immediately informed and the victim’s body was recovered and brought to Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista in Barangay Busbus, Jolo, Sulu for post-mortem examination and identity verification.

“Subsequently, the cadaver was confirmed by PNP SOCO personnel as Korean kidnap victim Nwi Seong Hong,” said Arrojado in a text message to reporters.

He added that initial investigation revealed that the ASG brought their kidnap victim’s cadaver to the area after he died while in captivity in a hinterland in Indanan, Sulu.

Arrojado further said that the PNP Scene-of-the-Crime Operatives found no gunshot wound on the victim’s body.

And while the cause of death was still undetermined, police intelligence reports indicate that the Korean national could have died due to illness.

According to the JTG Sulu commander, the police intelligence monitored last week that Hong’s captors ordered medicines for the victim.

Arrojado said Hong’s body will be transported to Zamboanga City.

The Consul General of the Korean Embassy in Manila and the victim’s son were scheduled to fetch Hong’s remains to be brought to Korea.

The victim was forcibly taken by armed men in Barangay Poblacion, RT Lim, Zamboanga Sibugay last January 24. At that time, he was with his son who managed to fight back and escape from their abductors.

Earlier reports also showed that Hong was eventually passed into the hands of Indanan-based Abu Sayyaf under sub-leaders Idang Suksukan, Anga Adji and Alden Bagadi. (ELENA L. ABEN)