Malaysian police authorities have advised the family of an Irish man who has been missing for one month to hire a private detective to help in the search as a fundraising drive is launched.
Tourist Stephen Warde, 32, was last seen on CCTV footage outside Mercu Summer Suites on Jalan Sultan Ismail in Kuala Lumpur on December 28 last.
It is understood he has been to Malaysia once in the past.
His family are offering a €4,400 reward for any information that could lead directly to finding him.
A gofundme.com fundraising page has now been set-up to help finance the search for him.
The post by friend Christian Coady reads: “This page has been set up by the friends and extended family of Stephen. He has been missing in Kuala Lumpur since 1st January 2019 (when there was last contact with friends and family).
“As this is very much out of character, his family have traveled to Malaysia to look for him.
"He has been registered as a missing person but unfortunately there has been very little progress in the investigation.
“This fundraiser is to finance the search for Stephen such as potential medical expenses when he is found, accommodation for his family while in KL, the cost of a private investigator (as recommended by the KL police!), and a reward for any information leading to his whereabouts.
"If you cannot donate - please share with your friends and please god we can bring Stephan home.”
The fundraising goal is €25,000 and since being set-up on Monday night, thousands of euro in donations has begun to flood in.
The post adds, “We have received some leads from the public and we would like to appeal for anyone who may have any information, including potential sightings of Stephen, to contact the police in Kuala Lumpur (+60 3 2600 2222 or +60 3 2697 7099) as soon as possible.
“The last communication we received from Stephen was on January 1st and the last confirmed sighting of him in Kuala Lumpur was on December 29th.
"The police believe that he may still be in Kuala Lumpur. Though we don’t currently have strong leads on his whereabouts, we still have hope.”
He is described as being a quiet and placid man with dark brown hair, brown eyes, 5’11” in height, of a heavy set and was last seen wearing a blue and purple T-shirt, khaki shorts and black sneakers.
Mr Warde, who works in e-commerce is from a large family, was last, a day before his tenancy was to expire.
He had been due to fly to Thailand on the same day.
All of his belongings were still in the unit rented by him when searched by police.
His passport has not been used to exit the country.
Donations can be made to gofundme.com/Help Find Stephen Warde - In Malaysia.