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Kidnap & Ransom Update – June 23, 2019


1. (US, 19/06/19) Florida city pays hackers 65 bitcoin

On 17 June, the council of Riviera Beach, a small city of Florida, unanimously agreed to pay hackers 65 Bitcoin (almost USD 700,000) to regain access to its encrypted data. The cyber-attack took place on 29 May, just after a police department employee opened an infected email attachment. The virus infected all the city’s online systems, including email and phones, online payment systems, as well as water utility pump stations. In addition to the ransom payment, the city was forced to authorise USD 900,000 to buy new computer hardware. Although the purchase and the work of IT experts had helped recovering a number of systems and files, a large number of them remained inaccessible, leading the council to decide to pay the ransom. FULL ARTICLE (1)

2. (MEXICO, 23/06/19) One American student kidnapped, other killed, in Jalisco

Mexican authorities are investigating the murder of a young American citizen and the kidnapping of another in Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco state. On the night of 15 June, Carlos Alejandro Delgadillo and Jessy Pacheco went to a bar to celebrate their graduation from the Autonomous University of Guadalajara (UAG). As they waited for a taxi to go home in the early hours of next day, heavily armed people killed Delgadillo and took Pacheco away. Delgadillo was beaten up before the assailants decided to shoot him. According to the Jalisco authorities, there is no information that indicates the victims were involved in drugs trafficking, nor that they had been involved in an altercation inside the bar, or that they had received any threats in the past. On 22 June, Mexican authorities informed that Jessy Pacheco had been found alive and was on his way home in Dallas. No information was released on the context of his release, but the authorities said they believed an organized crime group was behind the incident. While the name of the group was not specified, Jalisco is the home state of the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación, one of the most dangerous cartels in Mexico. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)


3. (UAE, 23/06/19) Asian men tried for kidnapping of businessman in Sharjah

10 Asian men are being tried in a Sharjah court, accused of defrauding and kidnapping a businessman for ransom. The accused reportedly lured the businessman via fake internet advertisements, offering a building for rent. The man was invited to visit the offices of the fake real estate company the suspects had created, to finalise the documentation and payment of the lease. When the businessman arrived at the meeting, he demanded to visit the building before handing over the money. The suspects then handcuffed and tied the man up and forced him to give them the money, amounting to AED 480,000 (over USD 130,000), before fleeing. It is not clear when the events took place. FULL ARTICLE


4. (NIGERIA, 23/06/19) Police arrest 32 suspected kidnappers

Police operatives attached to Operation Puff Adder paraded 32 suspected kidnappers they arrested since 5 June in different localities of the states of Kwara and Kaduna. The police spokesman said 11 AK47 rifles, 2 pump action guns, 3 locally-made pistols, 12 Dane guns, 2 revolver pistols, 10 live cartridges, 77 live ammunition and 2 Volkswagen vehicles were recovered from the suspects. Among the arrested was a man known as Buba Dogo, who allegedly led a gang specialised in the kidnapping for ransom of foreign nationals. Buba Dogo claimed he made over N200 million (over half million dollars) from ransoms in the last six months. FULL ARTICLE (1)


5. (PHILIPPINES, 22/06/19) Nine of 10 fishermen abducted in Malaysia released

Nine out of the 10 fishermen kidnapped by armed men believed to be linked to the Abu Sayyaf on 18 June, have been released in the southern Philippines. The Philippine authorities reportedly found the victims on the streets of a town in Jolo Island at 10 pm on 21 June. The group was released by their captors, allegedly as they understood the victims had no money to pay as they were sea gypsies (nomads). The fate of the missing victim is still unknown. The 10 fishermen were kidnapped from two boats at around 2am on 18 June, in waters of Lahad Datu, Malaysia. Six other fishermen managed to escape. FULL ARTICLE (1)