Kidnap & Ransom update – March 27, 2019
27-Mar-19

AMERICAS

1. (ECUADOR, 26/03/19) Kidnapped American girl rescued in southwestern Ecuador

An American couple was arrested on 25 March at a hotel in the Ecuadorian coastal town of Montañita, in the province of Santa Elena, for the alleged kidnapping of a 5-year-old American girl. According to reports, the couple had been hired two years ago by the girl’s parents to take care of the child. For reasons still unascertained, the caretakers decided to leave the country and take the girl with them, on 17 February. They initially took a flight from Florida to Lima, Peru, and from there they travelled by road to Ecuador. The parents of the minor reported her disappearance to the FBI, who liaised with the police of Peru and Ecuador. The girl was found healthy and unaffected. It is unknown how the couple managed to take the girl out of the US. FULL ARTICLE (1)

2. (CANADA, 27/03/19) Abducted Chinese student found

On 26 March, Canadian police found the Chinese student who had been kidnapped in Toronto three days ago. According to a spokesperson of the Chinese Consulate General, Lu Wanzhen approached a private house in Gravenhurst, Ontario province, asking for assistance. The house owner immediately informed the police. The student appeared to have only minor injuries. Lu was kidnapped on 23 March by masked armed men, from the parking of his condo building. At the time of the attack, he was in the company of his girlfriend, who was not taken. On the same day of the kidnapping, a Toronto man was arrested in connection with the abduction. However, the police has confirmed that the suspect has been released and will face no charges. Meanwhile, the four suspects involved in the kidnapping remain at large. The motives for the crime are still unknown. FULL ARTICLE (1)

AFRICA

3. (GHANA, 26/03/19) Probe over unlawful arrest of Lebanese man in Accra

According to reports confirmed by sources inside the Ghanaian government, Mahran Mustapha Baajour and his two Ghanaian hosts who welcomed him at Accra airport, were arrested o 13 December 2018, as they were about to depart the premises of the airport, by individuals claiming to be operatives of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI). The Ghanaian hosts were released after six days in detention. However, the Lebanese national remained in custody, without a charge. After the first reports on the incident emerged a few days ago, attracting considerable domestic and international attention, Baajour was secretly released and sent back to Lebanon on 25 March. FULL ARTICLE (1)

4. (NIGERIA, 26/03/19) Gunmen abduct North Korean in Zamfara

Jeng Sunail, a North Korean doctor working at the General Hospital in Tsafe Local Government Area of Zamfara State, was abducted by gunmen on 25 March. According to local media, a number of armed men raided the staff quarters of the Tsafe General Hospital at about 9:00 pm, going directly to Sunail’s apartment, from where they took him to an unknown destination. Different law enforcement agencies have opened an investigation into the case, and have initiated a search and rescue operation of the expatriate. FULL ARTICLE

ASIA

5. (PAKISTAN, 27/03/19) Bitcoin demanded for release of kidnapped professor

IT professor Shahid Naseer was kidnapped on 19 March. His kidnappers reportedly demanded a ransom of 20 million rupees (approximately USD 142,000) in Bitcoin. The victim’s family paid a final sum of 2.5 million rupees (almost USD 18,000) worth of Bitcoin. A student of Naseer’s, has been named as the primary suspect of the crime, with three police officials, one of them a high ranking officer, as his accomplices. Additionally, a Lahore Bitcoin money exchanger has been accused of helping the kidnappers by providing an outlet for the payment of the ransom. It is unclear if the man’s participation was deliberately criminal. According to the police the kidnappers were arrested “using digital technology.” FULL ARTICLE