Kidnap & Ransom Update – July 8, 2019
9-Jul-19

AMERICAS

1. (MEXICO, 07/07/19) Migrants rescued after weeks in captivity in Guanajuato

After more than 20 days in captivity, 24 Central American migrants were rescued by Mexican authorities from a safe house in the central city of Celaya, Guanajuato State. According to the victims, a group of armed men detained them when they traveled by train, near the district of Empalme Escobedo, also in Guanajuato. The migrants said that a number of other migrants were also abducted and taken to different houses. The kidnappers had reportedly demanded a ransom for the migrant’s release. Some of the released hostages claimed their families had already paid but they had not been released. No arrests have been made so far. FULL ARTICLE

2. (MEXICO, 07/07/19) Federal police officers accused of kidnapping migrants

Five Cuban migrants reported having been kidnapped and extorted out of thousands of dollars by Mexican federal agents. According to their complaint, the Cubans had just arrived in the border city of Ciudad Juarez when their taxi was pulled over by the agents, who guided the taxi driver to a home. Once at the property, the migrants were allegedly forced to make calls to their relatives in the US to request a ransom payment of USD 3,000 each. This is the second such report in the city in less than one moth. Previously, on 10 June, a Honduran woman said she had been illegally detained by federal agents who later handed her over to a criminal organisation. FULL ARTICLE

3. (VENEZUELA, 07/07/19) Former hostage ready to go back to Venezuela to look for employee who remains missing

After his release, Colombian businessman Germán Plata Rivero has declared he will soon go back to Venezuela to seek the release his employee, Colombian-Venezuelan Norman Loaiza Mojica. The businessman, his driver, and Loaiza, were kidnapped in Venezuela’s Táchira state, near the border with Colombia on 7 June, and later separated. The two males were released on 27 June, allegedly in a security operation carried out by Venezuelan authorities. The driver, who was being held with Loaiza, said that at the time of his release she had been very ill. The businessman said nothing has been heard from Loaiza since the release, and thus he will be travelling back to Venezuela in order to pressure the authorities there to obtain her release. FULL ARTICLE

4. (MEXICO, 08/07/19) Guatemalan migrant found beheaded after kidnapping

Four Guatemalan migrants were kidnapped in Veracruz State after being abandoned there by the human trafficker they had hired to take them to the US. The group was formed by members of one family; two brothers and their two children. Soon after they were abandoned, they were kidnapped by a group who claimed to be members of Los Zetas. On 1 July, relatives of the victims received a phone call in which the kidnappers demanded USD 12,000 for the release of the group. The relatives reportedly paid USD 8,000, but after the payment they heard no more from the kidnappers. It was until this past weekend that authorities found the beheaded corpse of one of the adults in a town of Morelos state. The man’s injured son was found alongside the corpse. The other two victims were later found in Mexico State, having reportedly escaped their captors. FULL ARTICLE

AFRICA

5. (MOROCCO, 08/07/19) Moroccan police arrest kidnappers wanting bitcoin ransom

Moroccan authorities announced the arrest of two individuals, as they were about to carry out a kidnapping in which they planned to demand Bitcoin and a vehicle as ransom. The arrest took place in Casablanca on 6 July, and followed a period of monitoring of the two suspects by the judicial police. The arrested men allegedly planned to take the victim to his house in Casablanca where they would then steal large amounts of money, as well as gain access into his e-wallet in order to seize his BTC. The victim has also been detained and is currently being investigated regarding his possession of a large amount of money, over MAD2 million ($208,500), which was seized. FULL ARTICLE (1)

6. (NIGERIA, 08/07/19) Over 50 hostages released across Nigeria

On 5 July, the Zamfara Police Command secured the release of at least 40 people being held in various hideouts by volunteer vigilante groups and bandits in the state. Their rescue followed a reconciliation and peace agreement put in place by state authorities, granting bandits amnesty if they surrender. One group of 25 people had been held since 9 April, while the rest of the hostages were said to have been held between 20 days and two months. Later, on 6 July, another group of 11 people, who had been held for two months by the same group, were released in Zamfara. Meanwhile, in Imo State, police rescued 13 victims after an eight-hour gun battle, which resulted in the death of three kidnappers. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)

ASIA

7. (PHILIPPINES, 06/07/19) Chinese loan shark abductions increase

Teresita Ang See, head anti-crime group Movement for the Restoration of Peace and Order (MRPO), said on 11 June she had been contacted by the family of a Chinese national who was allegedly kidnapped in Metro Manila with his boss, by suspected members of a loan shark syndicate. Ang See said such incidents are reported to her organisation almost on a daily basis, with data from the Philippine Police an increase number of kidnapped Chinese nationals. However, MRPO believes the actual number of cases could be five times the police figure as the majority of cases go unreported. The increasing trend has reportedly come amid an influx of Chinese tourists and workers in the Philippines, particularly in situations related to gambling and online businesses. FULL ARTICLE