A two-year-old girl who went missing for weeks and was reportedly "adopted" by a couple in Singapore is now being cared for by social workers in Johor.
The case is still under investigation, said the Johor police chief, Datuk Wan Ahmad Najmuddin Mohd, who met the Malaysian media yesterday at Ibu Pejabat Polis Kontinjen Johor - the state police headquarters - a 10-minute drive from the Causeway.
The toddler, Angie Tiong, was handed over to the social welfare team on Sunday, and has undergone a routine medical check-up at Hospital Sultanah Aminah.
The Malaysian couple who "adopted" her are permanent residents in Singapore, added the police chief. They are believed to have recorded their statements at a Johor police station yesterday.
Angie was reported missing by her father last Dec 10. But it turned out that it was the 33-year-old father himself who took the girl away from her Johor Baru home where she was being cared for by relatives on Nov 9.
Malaysian newspaper China Press reported that the toddler had been abandoned by her Vietnamese mother and was "adopted" by a childless married couple in Singapore. Her relatives suspected her father had "sold" her.
The father, who has a history of substance abuse, later told the police that he handed his child to a man in Johor, who gave him RM12,000 (S$4,000).
Datuk Wan Ahmad said the father, who was questioned by Johor police, has been released.
Mr Yap Yeen Min, a 52-year-old businessman, handed Angie over to the police on Sunday.
Mr Yap, the founder of Johor Temple Foundation, has been in contact with the couple after they sought his help over the case.
He told The Straits Times that he picked Angie up from the couple's parents' place in Ipoh. But he declined to say more about how the couple came to "adopt" Angie.
"I will leave it to them to tell the media," he said, adding that they will hold a press conference in Johor Baru today.
A formal adoption would have been difficult in such a short time, The Straits Times understands.
According to the Ministry of Social and Family Development, it generally takes between five and seven months from application to approval from the court for an adoption. The adoption of a foreign child takes longer as it involves a Home Study Report and application for a Dependant's Pass for the child.