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Chinese Tourist Kidnapped in Malaysia; Beijing Expresses Concern

Armed men are seen near a door of a hotel in Sabah, April 2, 2014.
Armed men are seen near a door of a hotel in Sabah, April 2, 2014.
Armed men have kidnapped a Chinese tourist and a hotel worker at a diving resort in eastern Malaysia, where insurgents are known to be active.

Malaysian police said the attackers took the two women in a late Wednesday night raid on the resort in Sabah state and escaped by boat to sea.

It is not known who carried out the attack, but militants from the nearby southern Philippines have in the past conducted kidnappings in Sabah.

Beijing immediately expressed concern at the reported abduction. The official Xinhua news agency said China's consul-general in Malaysia held an "urgent meeting" with Malaysian officials.

The report said the Chinese consulate has started a "24-hour emergency mechanism," adding that officials were on their way to the spot of the abduction. It said Malaysian officials have promised to keep Beijing informed on the investigation.

The abduction comes at a fragile moment in China-Malaysia relations. Many in China are angry at Malaysia over its handling of the search for a missing Malaysian jetliner, which was carrying mostly Chinese passengers.

Relatives of the Chinese passengers accuse Malaysian officials of holding back key information in the search for the plane, which went missing March 8. At some protests, family members have labeled Malaysian officials as "murderers."

The plane incident has prompted a popular backlash in China against Malaysia, with some high-profile Chinese figures vowing to never visit the country. Chinese tourists currently make up as much as 10 percent of tourist visits to Malaysia.
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