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Kidnapped S. Korean recovered in Philippines

One of three South Korean men missing for more than a month in the lawless southern Philippines has been found alive, but the fate of his two companions remains unknown, officials said Friday.

The South Korean, identified by police as Choi Inn So, was abandoned by his captors in the southern island of Mindanao late Thursday and was picked up by police and local officials, police and military spokesmen said.

"The kidnap victim was apparently ill and weak and was immediately brought to the hospital," regional military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang said.

"They apparently abandoned him because he was sick. The situation of the other two kidnap victims is unknown."

He could not say what illness the South Korean was suffering from.

The man was found in a remote town on the border of Lanao del Sur and the neighbouring province of Lanao del Norte, said the head of the regional police, Chief Superintendent Jufel Adriatico.

His men are now searching for the other two kidnap victims, he added.

Adriatico said he had informed the South Korean embassy of the development. Embassy spokesmen declined to comment.

The three South Koreans were lured from their hotel in the trading city of Cagayan de Oro on October 21 and reportedly taken to Lanao del Sur, a heavily forested province about 50 kilometres (30 miles) away.

Police earlier said the three had been scouting for mining opportunities in Mindanao when they were taken and the kidnappers had contacted their relatives using their mobile phones.

Foreign governments warn their citizens to avoid many parts of the southern Philippines because of the threat of violent crime, including kidnapping for ransom.

A Muslim insurgency in the southern Philippines that has dragged on for more than 40 years has given birth to a wide range of militants, bandits and pirates who carry out abductions.

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AFP News

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