Philippine Forces Kill Abu Sayyaf Militant Wanted by Malaysia

Colin Forsythe
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
170315-MY-sayyaf-620.jpg Philippine soldiers wounded in a clash with Abu Sayyaf Group militants, arrive at a military hospital in Jolo, Sulu province, March 3, 2017.

Security forces in the southern Philippines have killed an Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) leader who was wanted in nearby Malaysia for the murder of a Taiwanese man in 2013, Philippine military sources said.

ASG militant Buchoy Hassan (alias Black or Bocoi) was killed by joint security forces Tuesday in Tawi-Tawi, the sources said, according to Philippine media reports.

Buchoy was on Malaysia’s “wanted list” for his alleged involvement in the kidnapping of Taiwanese national Chang An Wei and the killing of her husband at the Pom Pom Island Resort in the eastern Malaysian state of Sabah four years ago.

A Malaysian security source who spoke to BenarNews on condition of anonymity, however, described Buchoy as a “supplier” rather than a militant involved in cross-border crime between Sabah and the nearby southern Philippines.

Black’s name appeared on a list of Filipinos allegedly involved in cross-border crimes – particularly kidnap-for-ransom activities – that was released in November by the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM).

Malaysian officials have not received official notification about Black’s death, according to Wan Abdul Bari Wan Abdul Khalid, ESSCOM’s director-general.

“Officially no, but we received information through the media and a liaison,” Wan Bari told BenarNews on Wednesday.

Smuggler of drugs, contraband

Buchoy was a smuggler who profited from distributing contraband as well as drugs while operating from his home base on the island of Sitangkai, Philippines, the anonymous source said.

“Whether he was directly involved in the kidnap of Taiwanese national Chang An Wei at the Pom Pom Island resort in Sabah in 2013 is anyone’s guess, but he very likely supplied fuel to the escaping criminals,” the source told BenarNews.

He added that Buchoy supplied diesel, one of the contraband items he traded in, to cross-border criminals from Tawi-Tawi who travelled to islands in Malaysian waters off Sabah’s east-coast seeking kidnap-for-ransom victims.

Buchoy was killed by Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi and police during a raid at his residence in Barangay village, Maj. Gen. Carlito G. Galvez Jr., commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Western Mindanao, said according to Philippine media.

“Recovered from his possession were an M-16 automatic rifle, five speed boats and various outboard motors,” Galvez said, the Manila Bulletin reported.

“We are continuously conducting support operations to assist police and other law enforcement agencies in expediting the arrest of notorious members of the kidnap for ransom group and in pre-empting kidnapping attempts in the province,” Galvez said.

In announcing Buchoy’s death, Philippine officials mentioned his role in the killing and kidnapping.

Chang was holidaying with her husband, Lee Min Hsu, at the island resort on Nov. 15, 2013, when Abu Sayyaf-linked gunmen stormed their villa. The militants, who wore ski masks, shot and killed her husband before taking her by boat to the remote Philippine island of Jolo.

Taiwanese media had reported Chan’s family paid a ransom of 800,000 ringgit (U.S. $180,000) for her release. Philippine marines found her at a village near Talipao, a town in Jolo that serves as a base for ASG.

The militant group still is holding five Malaysian sailors kidnapped in July, although a deadline to pay a ransom of 2 million ringgit (U.S. $450,000) has passed.


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