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'Missing' mum, daughter safe in Romania

FOUND: Romanian police have posted a photo of Ms Yap and Madam Foo on Facebook. They are staying with the family of Ms Yap's boyfriend.


    Feb 04, 2016

    'Missing' mum, daughter safe in Romania

    THE mother and daughter who went to Romania without telling the rest of the family are safe and have not fallen victim to crime.

    Romanian police gave the update and posted a photo of Cheryl Yap Lay Leng, 25, and her mother, Foo Li Kheng, 61, flanked by two officers, on their Facebook page on Tuesday.

    Yesterday, the duo also made contact with Ms Yap's father for the first time since they left for the Eastern European country.

    They even appeared on the TV news in Romania on Tuesday, with Ms Yap telling a reporter that they had been staying with her 18-year-old boyfriend Alexandru Donea and his parents in Vulturesti, a village commune in Olt County about 150km from Bucharest.

    Ms Yap, an administrative assistant, had become online friends with Mr Donea two years ago. A shared fondness for manga drew them closer together.

    In the interview with Romanian broadcaster Pro TV, which was seen by The Straits Times, Ms Yap, when asked why she went to Romania, replied: "To meet my boyfriend to work together on YouTube."

    Both their YouTube accounts are updated frequently with manga-related videos and songs. Ms Yap has more than 12,000 subscribers; Mr Donea has about 150,000.

    On Jan 22, she had left for Bucharest to meet her Romanian boyfriend for the first time, with her mother accompanying her. They kept their whereabouts secret from Ms Yap's father and brother, who feared that they might have fallen for an online scam.

    On Monday, Mr Yap, a 59-year-old taxi driver, told Shin Min Daily News that his wife and daughter had left without his knowledge and were uncontactable. He said his daughter had with her four bank passbooks containing savings of at least $40,000, with cash and SG50 commemorative notes.

    Yesterday, Mr Yap spoke to his wife in a 10-minute phone call, said Shin Min.

    Madam Foo reassured him that they are doing fine, though Ms Yap declined to speak to her father.

    Mr Donea apologised on their behalf: "I am very sorry to have caused so much trouble for everyone."

    After confirming his wife and daughter were safe, Mr Yap said: "I can finally sleep in peace tonight."

    In a statement to The Straits Times yesterday, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it is relieved that mother and daughter are safe.

    The spokesman added that MFA will continue to maintain contact with the Romanian authorities and render the necessary assistance.

    Madam Foo told her husband that they intend to stay for at least another one or two months and he agreed. They had booked their return for April 16.