Rescued Chinese hostage dies in southern Philippines

14:36, March 02, 2010      

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One of the two rescued Chinese nationals held hostage in the restive southern Philippines was dead, a senior police official said Tuesday.

Oscar Lu (Lu Zishun), 51, who was confined at Ciudad Medical Center in the southern city of Zamboanga, died around 3:00 p.m. local time (0700GMT) on Monday.

Senior Superintendent of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Sonny David confirmed the death of Mr. Lu, who had been suffering from kidney failure and his blood pressure did not improve since he was rescued last week, adding the victim's family had been informed about his death, and they were planning to bring his body back to China.

Lu and 27-year-old Michael Tan (Chen Bozhong) were rescued in a small village of southern Basilan province on February 26.

The two Chinese nationals were seized last November by gunmen who stormed the plywood factory they worked for in Maluso town of Basilan. A Filipino hostage, kidnapped along with the two Chinese, was beheaded one month later.

The kidnappers, whose identities remain unknown, have been demanding tens of millions of pesos from the plywood owner as well as Lu and Chen's families. It is not immediately clear whether any ransom was paid for their release.

Basilan is a known stronghold of the al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group which is notorious for kidnappings, bombings and beheadings in southern Philippines over the past decade.

The group has been blacklisted by the U.S. government as a foreign terrorist organization.

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