PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Chinese tourist who was abducted from a resort off Semporna, Sabah, on Wednesday night had sent an SMS to her mother saying she had just finished taking her bath, minutes before she was kidnapped.
Ms Gao Huayuan's father told the Shanghai People's Radio Station that his daughter sent the SMS at about 10pm.
"Not long after that her travel mate posted on the app WeChat that my daughter had been kidnapped. Many people started calling us for confirmation.
"We were so worried and didn't sleep the whole night," Mr Gao told the radio station while appealing for it to help the search for his daughter.
According to her profile on China's social media page Kaixinwang, Ms Gao, 29, enjoys travelling alone and has been to Tibet, the Philippines, South Korea and around China.
Ms Gao, who had just received admission to study for a Masters in Business Administration in Britain, had left for Malaysia on Tuesday with a friend.
Ms Gao's friend, who is only known as Su, told Dragon Television through a telephone interview that they went to Semporna to learn diving.
Ms Su said she and Ms Gao left their room at about 10pm on Wednesday night to shower in the common bathroom outside.
"She finished her bath earlier. When I returned to our room, I saw the door was ajar and she was not there," she said.
She then waited for Ms Gao in the room and about 30 minutes, she noticed several policemen patrolling the resort.
"After a while, someone knocked on the door and told me to go to the lobby.
"They said a woman who was wearing a black-and-white striped dress was taken away," she said.
Ms Su said after verifying information from several parties, she realised that Ms Gao had been abducted.
She added that the kidnappers did not ransack their bedroom and did not take their passports.
"The only things they took were our handphones," she said.
A Chinese daily reporter, who was also at the resort when the kidnapping took place, said a group of people barged their way into the resort, followed by sounds of gunshots.
About 60 Chinese tourists were in the resort at the time of the incident and everyone was hiding under the chairs and tables when it happened.
Another Chinese tourist claimed she heard rapid footsteps at about 10.30pm on Wednesday night followed by screams for help.
She first thought that the commotion involved people who were drunk, but soon found out that a kidnapping had taken place.
A Filipino worker at the resort was also abducted.