GEORGE TOWN, Malaysia -- Three hours before she was kidnapped, Taiwanese tourist Chang An-wei (張安薇) sent an SMS to her family telling them that she was safe.
“We are having a great time on the island. Please tell mum, we will be cautious and do not worry!” said the message in Mandarin.
Chang's elder brother Da Gong said she sent the SMS at 10.17pm on Thursday.
Chang, 58, was taken by gunmen at about 1am on Friday after they had shot dead her husband Hsu Li Min, 57, while both were holidaying on Pom Pom Island off Semporna in Sabah.
Da Gong told the Apple Daily in Taiwan that he was prepared to face the worst, and prepared to pay the ransom should it come to that stage.
He, however, refused to divulge details.
Da Gong was quoted in the newspaper as saying that Taiwan police had told them not to call or send SMSes should they receive any message or call from his sister.
He is expected to fly to Kota Kinabalu on Tuesday with Hsu's family members to claim Hsu's remains.
In the incident, unidentified gunmen raided three of the five water villas on the island before shooting dead Hsu and abducting Chang.
Hsu and Chang had checked into the resort Tuesday and were scheduled to leave on Wednesday.
Hsu's brother, Li Ren, hoped the authorities would go all out to save Chang.
“She is not dead, please go all out to save her,” he said in Liberty Times.
Li Ren added that his brother could have been killed because of his burly physique.
He said the gunmen could have opened fire for fear they could not overpower Li Min, who was 180cm tall and weighing about 100kg.
Li Ren said he would bring along a nephew, whom the deceased had been treating as his own child, to Malaysia before bringing back Hsu's ashes.
On news report that the couple was not married, Li Ren said the couple had actually registered their marriage in China and not Taiwan.
Meanwhile, Taiwan's Deputy Minister of Justice Chen Ming-tang said he had asked the necessary department to look into ways of helping the affected family members.
He said Taiwanese citizens who left the country with proper documents but met with misfortune could apply for financial aid of up to NT$200,000 (RM21,600).