Chinese trader seized in Zamboanga province

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PAGADIAN CITY – Unidentified gunmen seized an elderly Chinese trader in daring broad daylight abduction in downtown Sirawai in the southern Filipino province of Zamboanga del Norte, police said Tuesday.

It said the gang dragged the 60-year old Christina Yee to a waiting pump boat that sped off towards the high sea on Monday afternoon.

Police said Yee owns the Ben Yee store in downtown Sirawai. No individual or group claimed responsibility for the latest abduction, but this occurred despite heightened security alert in the troubled region where military forces are battling the Abu Sayyaf group tied to the Islamic State.

Yee’s family did not give any statement to the media and police said there is an on-going operation to track down the victim.

The province is a known lair of Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels and criminal gangs blamed by authorities in previous ransom kidnappings there.

In October last year, suspected MILF rebels kidnapped Italian restaurateur and former missionary Rolando del Torchio, who owns Ur Choice Pizza House in the village of Miputak in Dipolog City in Zamboanga del Norte province.

Torchio, 56, was taken to Sulu province and freed in April this year after paying huge ransoms to his captors. (With a report from Ely Dumaboc)

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