Kidnap & Ransom Update – June 25, 2019
25-Jun-19

AMERICAS

1. (MEXICO, 21/06/19) Kidnapping increases in the first five months of 2019

The number of kidnappings in Mexico increased 29% between January and May 2019, compared to the same period in 2018. According to official statistics, in the first five months of 2019 a total of 571 cases were reported to the authorities, while in the same period in 2018 there were 443 reports. In 2019, January was the month with the largest number of reports, with 142. A similar trend has been observed with regards to murder, indicating a general increase in violent crime across the country. FULL ARTICLE

AFRICA

2. (ETHIOPIA, 22/06/19) Saudi businessman kidnapped in Ethiopia released

A Saudi national who was kidnapped while on a business visit to Ethiopia has been freed. The Saudi Embassy in Addis Ababa confirmed the information, saying that Abdulla Bahaithem is safe, already back in the Kingdom. The arrest occurred after the Saudi authorities led the kidnapers to believe they would pay the ransom demanded, which was 160,000 Saudi riyals (almost USD 43,000), out of the 500,000 (over USD 133,000) originally demanded. The Ethiopian authorities located the safe house where the victim was being held by tracing the phone calls made by the kidnappers. According to the Ethiopian authorities, the release of the victim and arrest of his captors took place less than 24 hours after the report of the abduction. In an interview after his release, the victim said he was held for four days. He said he was kidnaped after his arrival at the airport by his driver, a long-time employee, who invited him to his home village, six hours form Addis Ababa. Once there, the driver staged a fight with some family members and later asked Bahaithem to help him pay his relatives to save his life. After bargaining on the sum, the request became a demand. He was then restrained and given four days to gather the money. After receiving his call, the businessman’s relatives contacted the police in Jeddah and reported the incident. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)

3. (TUNISIA, 23/06/19) Terrorist group attempts kidnaping of security officer in Kasserine

Members of an unidentified terrorist group attacked a security officer on 23 June, trying to kidnap him and take him to a nearby mountain in the El Ayoun region of Kasserine. The incident took place as the officer was ambushed as he was driving back home. He reportedly struggled and caught the attention of neighbors, forcing the terrorists to flee. The officer was nonetheless violently assaulted, needing to be taken to the hospital afterwards. Security operations are currently being conducted to locate the attackers. FULL ARTICLE (1)

ASIA

4. (CHINA, 23/06/19) Chinese police rescue foreign women from human traffickers

Chinese police reported that between July and December 2018 they rescued over 1,100 women from South-East Asian countries who were being trafficked as wives. Seventeen children were also among the rescued, who originated from Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand. More than 1,300 suspects, including 260 foreigners, were detained in the raids for “abducting and selling people”, as well as for “marriage fraud.” According to the statement, the suspects lured women from neighbouring countries into China promising marriage, or in some cases, promising work and later holding them against their will to be sold as wives or forced into prostitution. In one raid, police released 11 Vietnamese women held at a safe house belonging to a “marriage agency.” The said agency charged clients between 3,000 and 10,000 yuan (USD 436 and USD 1,500) to “introduce” them to a Vietnamese wife. FULL ARTICLE

5. (CAMBODIA, 24/06/19) Taiwanese man released after ransom payment

A Taiwanese businessman was released after he was abducted in Phnom Penh last week by several attackers who have since been arrested. Hung Chung-chuo was waylaid after leaving a business meeting on 18 June in Cambodia’s capital. According to local reports, the attackers initially demanded USD 100,000 and threatened to kill him and discard his body in a river if he did not pay. Hung was released after his relatives paid a final sum of USD 20,000. Shortly after the victim was safely released, a report was made to the Cambodian police and four attackers were arrested. A fifth suspect is still at large. Two of the arrested men are Chinese citizens, while the other two are Cambodians. The report indicates that the fifth suspect is also a Chinese national. FULL ARTICLE