Kidnap & Ransom Update – June 2, 2019
2-Jun-19

AMERICAS

1. (PERU, 31/05/19) Peruvian police stops kidnapping of Venezuelan

Members of the National Police of Peru (PNP) arrested three local men who tried to kidnap a Venezuelan female. The criminals reportedly intercepted the woman in Lima’s Santa Catalina-La Victoria area. After hitting and threatening her at gunpoint, the criminals forced the victim to hand over the PIN to her bank cards. The gang intended to take the woman to an ATM when police officers in the area observed suspicious activity inside the vehicle, as three people – two men and one woman between them – struggled in the rear seat. When the vehicle was stopped by the officers, the woman showed a nervous attitude to the officers, who decided to investigate further. The Venezuelan national then recounted the events to the officers, who subsequently arrested all those involved. FULL ARTICLE

EUROPE

2. (SWITZERLAND, 31/05/19) Two killed in Zurich hostage situation

A 60-year-old Swiss man killed two female hostages and himself after a three-hour standoff in Zurich on 31 May. Zurich police said the unnamed gunman took the women captive in a flat in the south west of the city and kept police at bay by threatening to shoot the hostages unless the officers withdrew. Shortly after he promised to surrender, shots were heard and police officers stormed the flat and found the two hostages and the assailant critically injured. The three died soon after at the crime scene. Prosecutors are still trying to determine the motives of the incident and the nationalities of the victims. FULL ARTICLE (1)

AFRICA

3. (NIGERIA, 01/06/19) Police arrest suspected kidnappers of four expatriates

Members of the Police Intelligence Response Team arrested two alleged members of a kidnap gang, suspected in the abduction of two Americans and two Canadians in Kaduna State in 2018. Sources said four other members of the group, including its leader, were gunned down when the police stormed the gang’s camp located in a forest in Kuiere, near Kagarko Local Government area of Kaduna State. One of the arrested men, who described himself as a farmer and herder, said he was in charge of supplying food to the kidnappers and the hostages. He also said that the attack on the expatriates took place after an informant gave them information on the targets. He mentioned not knowing the ransom amount demanded, but he thought it was around N100 million (over USD 275,000). He reporting having been paid N5million (almost USD 14,000) for the job. FULL ARTICLE

4. (SOUTH AFRICA, 01/06/19) Transport mogul’s kidnapped daughter reportedly located

There are unconfirmed reports that Sandra Moonsamy, the daughter of the owners of Crossmoor Transport, who was kidnapped on 30 May in Durban, has been located in an apartment in the same city. It is understood that her kidnappers had already contacted the family to negotiate a ransom and that the police were supervising the negotiations. A police spokesman confirmed they were assisting but could not give updates on the case. Moonsamy, who works at the family business in the finance department, was forced off a highway by armed men while driving to her home. The assailants allegedly bundled her into their own vehicle and sped off, leaving her bullet-riddled Range Rover behind. A passing security vehicle reportedly attempted to follow the suspects but was fired upon.

5. (NIGERIA, 01/06/19) Kidnapped foreign oil workers allegedly rescued in Nigeria

According to a Scottish newspaper, Scotsman John Hiddleston and two colleagues have allegedly been found abandoned in a remote forest after their abductors fled as Nigerian elite forces closed in. Deputy superintendent Nnamdi Omoni of the Rivers State Police Command, said the men were rescued thanks to pressure on the gunmen by the security agencies, affirming no ransom had been paid. The two expatriates are reportedly still in Nigeria, receiving treatment at a local hospital. Meanwhile, the UK’s Foreign Office has reportedly confirmed Hiddleston’s release, saying the government was “grateful to the Nigerian authorities for their role in negotiating his release. Hiddleston and his Canadian colleague Dwight Sullivan, employed by maintenance company Acme Energy Integrated Services, were kidnapped while working at an oil rig, on 26 April. FULL ARTICLE

ASIA

6. (PHILIPPINES, 30/05/19) Kidnapped Australian-Chinese rescued, Chinese kidnappers arrested

The Philippine National Police-Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) rescued an Australian-Chinese dual national who was allegedly kidnapped by five Chinese men. Jianting Chen was rescued on 27 May at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1. According to police, the victim borrowed cash worth P500,000 (USD 9,500) from the five Chinese nationals for gambling, but lost it and later could not pay his debt. The victim was then abducted from a high-end casino in Manila on 24 May. According to police reports, Chen’s abductors demanded RMB 90,000 (approximately USD 13,000) from the victim’s wife. The PNP-AKG said they learned of the abduction from the Australian Federal Police, after which they deployed to trace the victim and rescue him. Initial investigation showed that Chen was previously kidnapped in Pasay City last February, also by a group of Chinese nationals who were alleged members of a loan shark syndicate. His abductors at the time were arrested. According to the police, there does not seem to be a direct link between Chen’s two sets of abductors. FULL ARTICLE

7. (AFGHANISTAN, 01/06/19) Taliban say discussing return of kidnapped foreign professors

The Taliban have started secret negotiations with US officials on the release of two University professors, an Australian and a US citizen, who were kidnapped by group in Kabul in 2016, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told the media without specifying the group’s demands. “If the US accepts our demands, it is easy to release them, but if not, they will remain in captivity,” Mujahid said. The Taliban spokesman did not share any other information about the hostages, including details about their health, which is believed to have deteriorated after years in captivity. US professor Kevin King and his Australian colleague, Timothy Weeks, were working at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul when they were abducted by suspected Taliban gunmen in the summer 2016. King’s release has already been addressed during the peace consultations between the Taliban and the United States this year. Washington’s demand to release the professor was reported to have been among the issues that temporarily stalled the talks in January. FULL ARTICLE