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Kidnap & Ransom update – January 20, 2019


1. (ARGENTINA, 18/01/19) Businessman released after ransom payment

Businessman Mariano Vizcay was kidnapped alongside his underage nephew when their vehicle was intercepted after leaving a cinema in the city of Tandil. The criminals forced Vizcay to take them to his company offices, from where they called his brother to demand a ransom. The boy was left behind at the offices, while the businessman was again taken away. The victim was released after five hours, following the alleged payment of USD 100,000 dollars to the kidnappers. His car was later found abandoned in the outskirts of the city. FULL ARTICLE (1)

2. (MEXICO, 19/01/19) Eight Cuban nationals rescued in Yucatán State

On 17 January, security forces of Mérida city rescued eight Cuban nationals, including a businessman, some women and a baby, who had been kidnapped by a Cuban kidnapping gang. Two suspects were arrested during the raid, which took place following an anonymous tipoff. It is unknown if ransoms were demanded for the release of the hostages. According to initial reports, the responsible gang would lure its victims with promises of work. Mexican authorities are trying to determine the migratory status of the victims. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)


3. (MADAGASCAR, 16/01/19) Australian honorary consul released by kidnappers

After four days in captivity, Habib Zafarhoussen, Australian honorary consul for Madagascar, was released by his kidnappers, near a military base in the suburbs of Antsiranana. An undisclosed ransom was reportedly paid for his release. Zafarhoussen was kidnapped along with his daughter and driver on the evening of 14 January, after he attended his regular Karate class. The two other victims were released soon after. His car was found on 15 January in an isolated area of the district. FULL ARTICLE


4. (CHINA, 17/01/19) China temporarily detains Canadian family

A Canadian woman of Chinese origin, whose activist father is imprisoned in China, was detained and intimidated by Chinese security authorities while transiting through Beijing International Airport on 16 January. Ti-Anna Wang was detained alongside her infant daughter and husband on their way to Toronto from Seoul. The family was escorted out from their connecting flight by six police officers and detained for two hours. It has been suggested the arrest is the latest reprisal act against Canadian citizens, following the arrest of Huawei heiress Meng Wanzhou in Canada in December 2018. FULL ARTICLE

5. (TAJIKISTAN, 18/01/19) Tajik national kidnapped by Afghan drug traffickers

Tajikistan’s Ministry of the Interior has confirmed that a Tajik national was recently abducted by suspected Afghan drug traffickers and is being held in the neighbouring country. Turakhon Nurmatov, a Tajik shepherd, was abducted on 1 January in the village of Mishkoron, near the border with Afghanistan. According to the victim’s uncle, he has been contacted by the kidnappers, who had demanded to be paid USD 40,000, a sum which is allegedly owed to them by Nurmatov. Police investigations have revealed that Nurmatov served time in prison in the past for drug smuggling charges. Reportedly, the Afghan Border Service had begun a search for Nurmatov in Badakhshan province. FULL ARTICLE

6. (PHILIPPINES, 18/01/19) Two Chinese tourists kidnapped in metro Manila

Two Chinese tourists were allegedly kidnapped by fellow Chinese nationals in Pasay City on 14 January. Police investigations revealed that Faquiang Guo and Fangmei Zhu were driving with three other companions to Parañaque City when they were blocked by another vehicle. A group of armed men then descended the car and took the two victims away, leaving their companions behind. According to police reports, Zhu and Guo were reported free on 16 January, two days after their abduction. Zhu was admitted to hospital for severe injuries he suffered during the incident. According to some local press reports, Zhu was taken to hospital by locals who found him after he escaped his captors. During interrogation, Guo claimed a group of Chinese nationals were responsible for the crime. He also said the suspects had demanded a ransom for their release. Reportedly, the police are still investigating whether a ransom was indeed paid to the kidnappers. Local news reported the victims had been lodged in the Solaire Resort and Casino, suggesting the kidnapping could be linked to gambling issues. FULL ARTICLE (1)