Kidnap & Ransom update – April 25, 2019
25-Apr-19

AMERICAS

1. (BRAZIL, 23/04/19) Police foil kidnapping of businessman, arrest kidnappers

Three men were arrested on 22 April while trying to kidnap a businessman in Santo Antônio da Patrulha, in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. The victim had been lured to the city by the men who pretended to be selling a car. Upon arriving at the meeting point, the businessman was rescued by the Civil Police, who was monitoring the activities of the criminal group. The kidnappers were arrested when they showed up soon after. According to the police, the gang’s modus operandi was to lure its victims by falsely selling merchandise, kidnaping them at the initial business meeting and later demanding ransom from their relatives. The group is being investigated for at least seven other kidnappings, including that of two businesspeople from Parana who were abducted when they arrived at Salgado Filho Airport, lured by a fake deal on agricultural equipment. Reportedly, more than 15 members of the gang had been already arrested, nonetheless, the group continued its activities. FULL ARTICLE

2. (PERU, 23/04/19) Police rescue businessman kidnapped by Venezuelan gang

On 22 April, the Peruvian National Police rescued a local businessman, who had been held captive for ransom by five Venezuelan criminals. According to the report made by the victim’s father, Erick Salva was kidnapped on 21 April outside of his home in the city of San Martin de Porres as he was arriving from work and opening his garage. The group originally demanded USD 250,000 for the businessman’s release and sent multiple videos to his family, showing the victim being tortured, to press them to pay swiftly. The arrested woman was reportedly in charge of making the calls to the family. It was determined that the kidnapping was planned by a former employee of the victim, who was among the arrested. According to investigations, the gang had studied the businessman’s movements for nearly three months. Only one of the suspects could demonstrate his legal status in Peru. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)

EUROPE

3. (DENMARK, 24/04/19) Danish companies receive ‘hazardous’ powder in letters

Danish police are investigating a number of letters containing an unidentified powder and threats, which were sent to several food processing companies in Denmark from Belgium. Denmark’s police declined to disclose details about the letters, only stating the letters contained “a hazardous substance.” Meanwhile, Danish media said the letters demanded a €30,000 (approximately USD 33,500) ransom, threatening to infect their products if this was not paid. Danish Crown, one of Europe’s largest meat processing companies, confirmed receiving such letters, which had been sent to several food-processing companies in Europe. The investigation is ongoing. FULL ARTICLE

AFRICA

4. (SOMALIA, 24/04/19) European forces intercept pirate mother ship in the Indian Ocean

On 23 April, the Spanish frigate ‘Navarra’ (F-85), flagship of the European operation to combat piracy in the Indian Ocean (EUNAVFOR Atalanta), intercepted a Yemeni fishing vessel that was being used by Somali pirates as mothership while sailing towards an area close to pirate camps on the Somali coast, announced Operation Atalanta officials. The Yemeni dhow, which was seen towing several skiffs, was hijacked with all its crew on 19 April, off the central Somali coast. Reportedly, a German maritime patrol plane, as well as a Spanish aircraft, participated in the interception. The operation started on 21 April, when information was received on a possible pirate attack utilising grenade launchers in Indian Ocean waters, targeting two fishing vessels, a Spanish (Txori Argi) and a South Korean (Adria). According to reports, the said ships had managed to repel the aggression thanks to the intervention of their private security team on board. FULL ARTICLE (1)

5. (NIGERIA, 24/04/19) Tanker attacked by pirates, 6 crew members kidnapped

Palau-flagged product tanker APECUS was reportedly attacked by six suspected pirates at Nigeria’s Bonny outer anchorage, on 19 April. Six members of the vessel’s crew, whose nationalities are unknown at present, were kidnapped in the attack, according to an International Maritime Bureau (IMB) report. The tanker was moved to Bonny inner anchorage after the attack. According to records from the vessel’s automatic identification system (AIS), the tanker had been recently trading in dangerous waters, between Tema (Ghana), Lome (Togo), and Lagos (Nigeria). The AIS also showed sketchy records history, indicating that the AIS was probably switched off at times for security reasons. FULL ARTICLE

6. (DRC, 24/04/19) Kidnapped Ugandan pupils released after ransom payment

Two Ugandan teenagers, who had been kidnapped on 21 April, were released by their Congolese abductors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) after their families paid a ransom of UGX 3.5 million (USD 930). The youths were kidnapped as they were harvesting bananas in their uncle’s plantation in Kanungu district, Uganda. The kidnappers had originally demanded USD 3,000 for their release. FULL ARTICLE (1)

7. (SOUTH AFRICA, 24/04/19) Cops in court for alleged abduction of Bangladeshis

Four police officers appeared before the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on 24 April after they allegedly abducted 10 Bangladeshi nationals. The incident took place on 27 March, after the victims were smuggled into the country through Zimbabwe. The officers reportedly arrested the foreign nationals from the N1 highway, and later demanded money from their relatives. Two of the Bangladeshis were released four days later, after their families paid the officers an undisclosed amount of money. The rest of them, who presumably did not pay, were booked through the system under charges of illegal immigration. FULL ARTICLE

ASIA

8. (PAKISTAN, 20/04/19) Body of missing Chinese national found

On 19 April, Pakistani police recovered the body of a young Chinese man who had been missing for the past four days and was suspected to have been kidnapped. Li Jin Qiang disappeared on 15 April after he went to a pharmacy in Islamabad. After two days of not knowing his whereabouts, Qiang’s Chinese friend filed a missing person’s report with the Kohsar police, as he suspected that he had been kidnapped. Qiang had arrived in Islamabad on 13 April on a 7-day business visa. On 19 April, the Kohsar police was informed that the body of a Chinese national was lying in a deserted area in Iqbal Town. Kohsar police are investigating whether Qiang was kidnapped and murdered over some monetary or business dispute. FULL ARTICLE (1)

9. (AFGHANISTAN, 22/04/19) Afghan forces rescue 24 civilians abducted by IS

On 22 April, the Afghan armed forces rescued 24 civilians who were abducted by militants of the Islamic State Khurasan Province (IS-KP) in eastern Nangarhar province. Officials said the victims had been kidnapped in Chaparhar district earlier on the same day. During the operation, at least three ISIS-K militants and a civilian were killed and other three civilians injured. FULL ARTICLE (1)

10. (PHILIPPINES, 24/04/19) Korean arrested for kidnapping of conational

The Anti-Kidnapping Group of the Philippine National Police (PNP-AKG) rescued a Korean national and arrested his abductor, a Korean businessman, in Makati City, on 22 April. Hang Jongwook was allegedly kidnapped on 4 March. The victim’s father said having received a voice message from his son, informing him that he had been kidnapped and that his kidnappers demanded a USD 5 million ransom for his safe release. After negotiations, the victim’s father paid the kidnappers USD 17,000 in Bitcoin. However, Jongwook was not released. This prompted the father to seek help from the South Korean authorities, who liaised with their Philippine counterparts. Sangmin Lee, a business partner of the victim, was arrested as the principal suspect in the kidnapping. Investigators said they are also exploring the possibility of a self-kidnapping case, given the connection between the two parties. FULL ARTICLE (1)

11. (CAMBODIA, 24/04/19) Foreigners suspected of kidnapping bar hostesses

On 22 April, Cambodian police arrested three Chinese nationals in Sihanoukville, Sihanouk province, suspected of being part of a gang that held bar hostesses for ransom in Phnom Penh. Reportedly, the men would kidnap and raped the women, while extorting their employers for USD 4,000 for each victim. Two other Chinese men, believed to be part of the same gang, are currently at large. FULL ARTICLE