Kidnap & Ransom update June 18, 2018
18-Jun-18

AMERICAS

1. (PERU, 14/06/18) Mayor kidnapped after extortion bid
Robert Alberto Bogarín Vigo, the mayor of the municipality of Pataz, in Pataz province, was released by his kidnappers in a rural area of Tayabamba, the provincial capital. He had to walk for about six hours to reach a village and get help. Bogarin said he was released in the early hours of 13 June, as a result of pressure exerted by peasant patrols in the area, which had been organized for the search of the mayor. Bogarín was kidnapped at night on 12 June, from inside his home in Tayabamba. Reportedly, an armed confrontation took place, in which Bogarin’s armed escort resulted injured. It is believed the kidnapping took place as a result of an unpaid extortion related to a number of infrastructure projects carried out by his government in the area. FULL ARTICLE (1)

MIDDLE EAST

2. (SYRIA, 13/06/18) Kidnapped doctor released after ransom payment in Idlib
A medic has been released by kidnappers in Idlib after a ransom payment of USD 120,000. However, Dr. Al-Mutlaq was reported in poor health condition as a result of torture inflicted during captivity. A number of photos showing the tortured victim had been released on social media by the kidnappers, to pressure the family to pay the ransom. In spite of his service to the community, his age and the observance of the holy month, Dr. Al-Mutlaq was kidnapped 10 days before the end of Ramadan (5 June). It is reported that this has not been an isolated case, as a number of health workers have been targeted recently in all areas of the province, regardless of which group is in control. FULL ARTICLE

AFRICA

3. (DRC, 13/06/18) 76 abducted in Kivu in May
According to a report on security in the Kivu region, published by Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the New York University Study Group on Congo (GEC), 76 people were abducted or kidnapped, and 82 killed, in May in North and South Kivu. This places May 2018 as a record high of violence in the area, where there are increasing abuses against the civilian population. FULL ARTICLE

4. (ALGERIA, 13/06/18) Gendarmerie rescued kidnapped Malian in Kabylie region
Members of the national gendarmerie of Tizi Ouzou rescued a young Malian national from the hands of his captors. The Malian, a resident of Tizi Ouzou, was kidnapped by two men at knifepoint on 11 June, in the locality of Azazga, located 30 kilometers to the east of the city. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of €100,000 for the release of the victim. The National Gendarmerie, acting on reports of the kidnapping, managed to release the victim and arrested one of the suspects. FULL ARTICLE

5. (SOMALIA, 14/06/18) Abducted ICRC Nurse moved to Mudug region
Reports coming from Mudug region said the kidnapped International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) German nurse, who was abducted in Mogadishu on early May, was moved to an area near the coastal town of Hobyo. Confirming the report, local residents said gunmen numbering around 10 are holding the woman hostage at an area 5 km west of Hobyo. One of the area elders said that the nurse, identified as Sonja Nientiet, is being held hostage at a thick bush in the area. “They arrived at the area several days ago with two vehicles and then pitched tents.” Security forces from Galkayo are reportedly pursuing the kidnappers. FULL ARTICLE

6. (SOUTH AFRICA, 15/06/18) Second missing botanist’s body identified
South African police have identified the body of a British botanist who had been kidnapped along with her husband by people with alleged links to the Islamic State (IS). Rachel Saunders and her husband Rodney Saunders were last seen alive on 10 February. Police found Rodney’s body on 17 February in the Tugela River, nearby the area where it is believed they were kidnapped, in KwaZulu-Natal province. Authorities identified Rachel’s body on 13 June but they did not say where and when they had found her remains. Up to date it is not clear if the incident was an express kidnapping or had a terrorist motivation. FULL ARTICLE

7. (MADAGASCAR, 16/06/18) Indian businessman released
Indian businessman Rishi Chandarana was set free by his captors on 13 June. No information has been released regarding the circumstances of his release, including if a ransom was paid. Chandarana was kidnapped on 3 June, outside the Rova Golf Course in Andakana. FULL ARTICLE

ASIA

8. (PHILIPPINES, 15/06/18) Police rescue Taiwanese national kidnapped over gambling debt
A Taiwanese national, who was kidnapped by compatriots over unpaid gambling debts, was rescued by the Parañaque City police from a hotel room at the Solaire Resort and Casino early on 14 June. Officials said Chou Yin-Chin, a Taiwanese businessman who entered the country as a tourists on 20 May, had been held hostage since 11 June after he was unable to pay P300,000 (USD 5,600) to the men suspected to be loan sharks. The police were alerted about the kidnapping by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (Teco), which was earlier contacted by Chou’s relatives in Taiwan. The suspects allegedly demanded that the relatives pay the P300,000 (USD 5,600) debt, plus P100,000 (USD 1,900) in interest. Two of the Chou’s four alleged kidnappers were arrested during the rescue operation and were charged with serious illegal detention. Two other suspects remained at large. FULL ARTICLE

9. (SINGAPORE, 16/06/18) Police issue advisory over kidnap scams involving foreign students
Singapore’s police issued an advisory on 16 Jun over a recent spate of kidnap scams targeting Chinese students in Singapore. The advisory was issued after the police received at least three such reports over two days. The police said that in such scams, students receive unsolicited calls from strangers claiming to be government officials. Victims are then tricked into giving money and providing personal information, including details of their families in China. These calls usually employ caller-ID spoofing technology and may look like they are from official government hotline numbers such as “110” or “999”. During the call, the victims are informed that they had committed criminal offences and are required to assist in investigations to prove that the money they owned is legitimate. They are then asked to withdraw some money and give it to a gang member, or transfer the money via cryptocurrency cash deposit machine or to another bank account; change their SIM cards and log out from social media, and to shift their location. Subsequently, the scammers contact the victim’s family overseas and inform them their child has been kidnapped and demand ransom. On a recent such incident, a female Chinese student was contacted on 11 June. After being told she was implicated in a smuggling case, she was convinced to hand over S$22,010 (USD 16,300) to an unknown man and transfer another S$4,800 (USD 3,600) in cryptocurrencies. While she was instructed to go incommunicado for several days, the scammers contacted her family and demanded an undisclosed ransom. It is unclear if there were further payments in this case. FULL ARTICLE