Kidnap & Ransom update – February 21, 2019
21-Feb-19

AMERICAS

1. (MEXICO, 19/02/19) Cartel claims kidnap and murder of businesswoman in Veracruz

Presumed members of the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and murder of businesswoman Susana Carrera on 14 February. The claim was communicated via a banner placed outside the police headquarters in the city of Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz State, on 19 February. According to the message, the crime was linked to the illegal activities of her husband, who is ostensibly linked with Los Zetas cartel. The kidnappers had initially demanded over USD 200,000 in ransom, which was allegedly not paid, leading to the businesswoman’s beheading. FULL ARTICLE

2. (CANADA, 19/02/19) Montreal police warn on virtual kidnappings targeting Chinese students

Montreal police have warned residents on an extortion scam targeting students from China. Seen in a number of Canadian cities over the past two years, the scam involves a call to the students from someone claiming to be a government or police official in China and warning of a threat to a family member. To “save” the family member, the targeted student is told to go into hiding and fake his/her own kidnapping on video. The scammers then use the video to extort ransom money from the person’s relatives in China. FULL ARTICLE (1)

3. (PERU, 20/02/19) 40 foreign tourists held briefly hostage by Venezuelan-Colombian gang

Local authorities confirmed an assault on an eco-luxury lodge in Peru, where one person was killed by the gang, comprised by Venezuelan and Colombian criminals. The incident took place on 19 February, at around 9pm local time, when at least 10 armed assailants raided the Amazon Reserve of Inkaterra, in the Amazonian Madre de Dios region of Peru. Reportedly, some of the criminals held a number of people at gun point while the others dispossessed the tourists of all their valuables. Among the affected were at least 40 American and Chinese tourists. The fatal victim was a local guide. Other tourists from the lodge fled to a nearby mountain. Peruvian authorities do not rule out the possibility this gang is the same that assaulted a bus when it transported tourists in the area the previous week. The incident took place a day after the Peruvian government declared emergency state in the area due to its high levels of organized crime. FULL ARTICLE (1)

EUROPE

4. (SPAIN, 17/02/19) Barcelona police rescued man kidnapped over a debt

On 17 February, the Mossos d’Esquadra informed of the rescue of a man who had been held hostage for two days. The operation took place on 26 January, during the exchange between the family and the kidnappers. Four suspects have so far been arrested. According to reports, the gang had demanded a ransom of €13,000 (over USD 14,000) for the release of the victim, who had been kidnapped over a drugs debt with the assailants. The abduction took place on 24 January, outside the victim’s house in Mataró, Barcelona province. The man’s sister reported the incident to the police the next day, after being contacted by the kidnappers. FULL ARTICLE

5. (LATVIA, 19/02/19) Kidnap for ransom plot uncovered in Riga

During a press conference on 19 February, Latvia Police reported they thwarted a group’s plan to kidnap a court bailiff, demand a ransom of €350,000 (over USD 397,000) and kill him after receiving the payment. The plan was uncovered after the detention of one of the would-be kidnappers, who confessed on the plan and identified his associates. The suspect said they had planned to keep the victim in a cellar outside Riga, and reported they had already conducted surveillance and research on the victim, his family and his routine. The would-be victim said not knowing the suspects. FULL ARTICLE

AFRICA

6. (MALI, 19/02/19) Two hostages held by jihadists reported free, four others killed

Two hostages held by suspected members of jihadist group Katibat Macina were freed on 18 February, according to a Malian security source. The victims were identified as Makan Doumbia, prefect of Tenenkou commune, who was kidnapped on 8 May 2018 in Mopti region; and journalist Issiaka Tamboura, who was kidnapped in central Mali on 27 December 2018. No further details have been given on the conditions of their release, with Malian authorities affirming that it was the result of “an action by state security” and denying a prisoners exchange had taken place. However, it is reported that sources close to the events shown themselves elusive when directly asked if a ransom had been paid for their release. Meanwhile, in Mopti region, four other hostages were reportedly killed by jihadists in the locality of Toguéré on 16 February. According to local reports, the victims were all civilians of Bozo ethnicity. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2) (3)

ASIA

7. (AFGHANISTAN, 19/02/19) Eight kidnappers arrested in Kabul

Eight suspected kidnappers were arrested during two separate operations of the Special Forces of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) in the vicinity of the 5th police district (PD5) of the city. During one raid, six individuals were detained in connection to the kidnapping and murder of a 10-year-old child in Kabul. The boy, identified only as “Wasimullah son of Toti Khan” had been kidnapped from a location in Kabul’s PD 12. The two other suspects were arrested for the kidnapping of the son of a man owning a money exchange business in PD9. The victim was rescued earlier during a security operation in Jabal Saraj district of Parwan Province. FULL ARTICLE (1)

8. (PHILIPPINES, 21/02/19) Anti-kidnap police rescues kidnapped Chinese-Australian

Four Chinese kidnappers were arrested by the Anti-Kidnapping unit of the Philippine Police during the rescue operation of an Australian national in Makati, Metro Manila, on 20 February. The intervention of the Philippine authorities was requested by the Australian police after receiving reports on the disappearance of the Australian national on 18 February. The victim was identified as Chen Jianting, who had arrived in the Philippines on 17 February. According to police reports, Chen had been kidnapped over an unpaid casino debt. After the abduction, the kidnappers took photos of the handcuffed victim and sent them to his relatives in Australia, threatening to cut off his fingers if they were unable to pay the P1 million (over USD 19,000) ransom. FULL ARTICLE