Taipei, Dec. 23 (CNA) Kidnapping victim Chang An-wei said she would not be here today if it were not for help from a nephew of President Ma Ying-jeou who once served in the U.S. Army Special Forces.
During an interview aired Monday on ETTV, she said of Gene Yu, the son of the president's sister Ma Li-chun: "Without his help, I would not have been able to return to my beloved Taiwan and reunite with my family."
These were her first public remarks after returning home following the Dec. 20 release that ended her 36 days in captivity in the Philippines.
Chang, who also goes by the English name Evelyn, said she wants to thank many people including Yu and noted that family members remained calm and resourceful after she was abducted from a resort in eastern Malaysia on Nov. 15 in an attack that left her husband dead.
Expressing deep grievance over Hsu Li-min's death, she also praised her family as "the most terrific family in the world," saying she hopes to "always be together with" the Changs.
Although she was rescued in the end, she said that she suffered injuries during her month-long captivity and still needs treatment for her physical and mental conditions.
Speaking to reporters Monday, Chang An-wei's brother Chang Ta-kung also thanked Yu, saying that his sister would not have made it home without his assistance.
Yu, a former commanding officer of the United States Army Special Forces, better known as Green Berets, disclosed on Facebook Sunday that he went to the southern Philippines a month ago to help rescue "a family friend" kidnapped by terrorists while holidaying in Malaysia.
Armed members of the Philippine separatist group Abu Sayyaf shot Hsu dead and took Chang An-wei from the resort island of Pom Pom in the Malaysian state of Sabah in the Nov. 15 attack.
The terrorists took her to a base in the jungles of the nearby southern Philippine island province of Sulu before she was released Dec. 20.
Chang returned to Taiwan Dec. 21, accompanied by family and police officers.