British visitor vanishes in Malaysian jungle

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Malaysian police on Saturday were looking for a British man who went missing when hiking in the jungle on a popular resort island five days ago.

British visitor vanishes in Malaysian jungle

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Malaysian police on Saturday were looking for a British man who went missing when hiking in the jungle on a popular resort island five days ago.

Gareth Huntley, 34, from London, did not return Tuesday from a waterfall trek on the island of Tioman off Malaysia’s east coast.

A group of 10 policemen were combing the jungle Saturday to look for the tourist, said district police chief Johari Jahaya.

“We are still searching for him. I think he is lost in the jungle,” Johari told AFP. “So far there is no sign of foul play.”

Huntley had been working voluntarily at the Juara Turtle Project, a conservation and research group.

“We need real action now to find Gareth,” his brother Mark said.

“Gareth’s been missing now for five days and he’s alone in the jungle. This was a man working out there as a wildlife volunteer – he deserves our assistance.”

He urged the British government to push the Malaysian authorities to do more to find his brother.

Huntley’s mother, Janet Southwell, said: “I am extremely concerned and anxious about my son.

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“I feel it is essential that the search be intensified as time is running out for Gareth.”

Huntley’s friends have set up a “Find Gareth Huntley” Facebook page, saying they are “extremely worried” and urging faster progress in the search.

“We need to find him ASAP and put pressure on the Malaysian authorities, as they seem to be dragging this on without urgency, action and results,” they wrote on the page.

Johari said police were only informed Thursday that Huntley was missing by the owner of the chalets where he was staying, and were doing their best to find him.

The UK Foreign Office in London said it was providing consular assistance to the family and was liaising closely with the local authorities in Malaysia.

French tourist Stephanie Foray, a 30-year-old civil servant, went missing on Tioman in May 2011. Her remains were found in August that year, buried in a cave.

A Malaysian shopkeeper pleaded not guilty in May 2012 to murdering her after she refused him sex. The trial is ongoing.

However, violent crime against tourists in Malaysia is rare.

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