ZAMBOANGA CITY: A South Korean kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf rebels was found dead near Patikul town in the Philippine province of Sulu, officials said on Sunday.
Captain Roy Trinidad, a military spokesman, said the decomposing body of 74-year old Noi-seong Hong was discovered by residents near the Sulu State College before midnight on Saturday.
The foreigner apparently died from an illness and rebels dumped his body outside the school, but it was unknown how they managed to pass through police and military checkpoints along the way.
“As per initial forensic report, the cadaver had no gunshot or stab marks and time of death was estimated to be three to five days ago. Hong was reported to have been sick for the past few weeks while in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf,” Trinidad told The Manila Times.
The body of the elderly Korean was transported to Zamboanga City by a military plane where his grieving family waited.
Hong was seized by rebels in January in the neighboring province of Zamboanga Sibugay and then brought by boat to Sulu, one of five provinces under the troubled Muslim autonomous region.
The Abu Sayyaf, whose members were mostly former fighters of the Moro National Liberation Front that signed a peace deal with Manila in September 1996, is still holding about a dozen local and foreign hostages they kidnapped in southern Philippines and nearby Sabah in Malaysia.