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Chinese teenager kidnapped in southern Philippines

September 12, 2014

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A Chinese teenager who managed a family-run store has been kidnapped by four gunmen in a southern Philippine province where militants kidnapped an Australian three years ago, the police said.

The unidentified gunmen seized 18-year-old Li Peizhi late Thursday in Zamboanga Sibugay province’s Kabasalan township, said Senior Inspector Leo Castillo. The gunmen also took 20,000 pesos ($455) from the store’s cash register.

Castillo, the provincial police spokesman, said officers in pursuit found the kidnappers’ vehicle burning in a village about two kilometers (1.25 miles) away.

Mayor George Cainglet said Abu Sayyaf militants who kidnapped Australian Warren Richard Rodwell in 2011 may have been involved. Rodwell was released 15 months later after his family paid a ransom.

Cainglet, who convened the town’s crisis management committee, said no ransom demand had been made.

Castillo said local police backed by army soldiers have set up road blocks and launched coastal patrols.

The military says the Abu Sayyaf is holding about 10 hostages, including two Germans and two European birdwatchers.

Despite U.S.-backed military offensives that crippled the group, the Abu Sayyaf remains a threat and kidnappings have become a major fund-raising activity for the group.

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