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Kidnapped S. Korean sea captain returns home

All News 11:13 January 15, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 15 (Yonhap) -- A South Korean man, who was abducted near Malaysian waters last year by a radical Islamic group, and released after nearly three months in captivity returned home, Seoul's foreign ministry said Sunday.

The Philippines-based militant group Abu Sayyaf attacked the 11,391-ton South Korean cargo vessel on Oct. 20 near Borneo, Malaysia, and kidnapped the South Korean captain, as well as a Filipino crew member.

The captain in his 30s, identified only by his surname Park, arrived at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, at around 4:30 a.m.

"We have found that his health is not bad, but I understand that he will soon be hospitalized for a thorough (medical) checkup," a ministry official said, declining to be named.

The captain was reportedly held as a hostage, while the militant group negotiated with the shipowner. The Seoul government had also been working with the shipowner, as well as the victim's family, for the release.

When 10 Abu Sayyaf members attacked the ship from a speedboat, 18 other crew members managed to avoid abduction by hiding in the vessel's citadel, a specially built safe room to protect the crew from pirates.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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