Background Information No. 113
Following the shooting of Mr. Hsu and kidnapping of Ms. Chang—both nationals of the Republic of China—at Pom Pom Island Resort off the coast of Semporna in eastern Sabah, Malaysia, on November 15, 2013, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Malaysia promptly sent two staff members to Pom Pom Island to keep track of related developments. The ROC diplomatic staff arrived in Tawau, Sabah, on the evening of November 15, from where they proceeded to Semporna at 9 AM the following day and were then accompanied to Pom Pom Island by local police. There they visited the crime scene and listened to a police briefing. Malaysian police have cordoned off the crime scene and are gathering forensic evidence. Mr. Hsu’s body was transferred from Semporna to Hospital Besar Tawau in Sabah on the evening of November 15. Officials from TECO in Malaysia and local police will visit the hospital on the morning of November 17.
The incident received extensive headline news coverage by Malaysian media. The whereabouts of Ms. Chang remain unknown. Malaysian police and coast guard personnel have launched rescue efforts, and a special police force that recently cracked down on Sulu militants from the Philippines has arrived in Tawau. Based on cartridges found at the scene and related intelligence, Malaysian police determined that the crime was probably committed by terrorists from the southern Philippines. Given that information is incomplete, a brief explanation is being provided to prevent a panic. Related Malaysian agencies have contacted Taiwan to seek assistance in obtaining information about the victims. Malaysian police have contacted the Taiwan business association of eastern Malaysia to have it assist victims’ families in obtaining a flight transfer from within the restricted area of Kota Kinabalu Airport.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) attaches great importance to the incident and has initiated an emergency mechanism, maintaining contact with TECO in Malaysia regarding the adoption of response measures. It has contacted the families of Mr. Hsu and Ms. Chang to express condolences, provide updates, and forward their requests to TECO for coordination with Malaysia. MOFA has also asked TECO in the Philippines to seek assistance from the Philippine government in rescuing Ms. Chang. MOFA and its representative offices will continue to monitor developments and urge pertinent Malaysian and Philippine government agencies to conduct a thorough and active investigation and rescue effort. (E)