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Missing hostage confirmed dead


IN AMENAS RAID: Tan Ping Wee was identified through his dental records and tattoo

KUALA LUMPUR: THE second Malaysian reported missing in the Algerian hostage crisis at the In Amenas gas facility complex in Algeria has been confirmed dead by Wisma Putra yesterday.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry said Tan Ping Wee, 48, was identified by the forensic team through his dental records and his tattoo.

Following the confirmation, Wisma Putra immediately notified Tan's family.

His wife, Koh Siow Mun, remained reluctant to be interviewed and has asked everyone to understand her feelings.

Siow Mun, in her 40s, said she had to focus on making arrangements to bring her husband's body back to their home in Port Dickson.

"I received the news from Wisma Putra and I'm still unsettled by the news, so I ask not to be disturbed for now."

Her home in Taman Samudera here was quiet and only a few members were seen coming in and out of the double-storey house.

Siow Mun's father, Koh Eng Hong, 70, said his son-in-law had just started working in Algeria six months ago and the last time he came home was in December.

He said Tan had travelled to many countries to work. Siow Mun, he said, worked as a clerk and has a 16-year-old son to support.

"We even discussed possibility of asking the Algerian government for compensation for not taking care of the safety of foreign workers there."

He said the family had yet to make any preparations for the funeral since there was no confirmation as to when the body would arrive here.

The Malaysian Embassy in Algiers and JGC Corp were arranging for the bodies of Tan and Chong Chung Ngen, who was identified earlier, to be flown home as soon as possible.

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Senator A. Kohilan Pillay said the two bodies were expected to arrive in Malaysia by Monday after the necessary documentation and forensic process had been cleared.


On the delay in identifying the victims, Kohilan said Wisma Putra had to follow several procedures, such as getting approval from the local authority and from the company where the victims worked, before issuing any statement.

Wisma Putra had earlier stated that three out of the five Malaysians working at the gas facility complex -- Patrick Purait Awang, Lau Seek Chiang and K. Ravi Kuppusamy -- were safe.

Chiang and Ravi returned home on Jan 23, while Patrick had voluntarily remained in Algeria to assist in the search for his colleague.

During the incident last week, a militant group held 130 In Amenas staff from various countries, including five Malaysians.

The action was believed to be in retaliation against the Algerian government for allowing French fighter jets into its airspace to attack militants in Mali.

A family friend meeting a member of Tan Ping Wee’s family (left) at his home in Taman Bukit Samudera, Port Dickson, yesterday. Pic by Hazreen Mohamad

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