Kidnap & Ransom Update – May 23, 2019
23-May-19

AMERICAS

1. (MEXICO, 20/05/19) Mexican police allegedly kidnapped Gulf Cartel member

Three state police officers were arrested in connection with the kidnapping for ransom of a senior member of the Gulf Cartel. The incident reportedly took place in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, on 29 April, when the officers held the man at a local hotel and demanded 500,000 pesos (USD 25,000) for his release. According to media reporting the incident, the practice of extorting cartel members is not uncommon in Tamaulipas. FULL ARTICLE

2. (MEXICO, 22/05/19) 24 Central American migrants rescued in Sonora

On 22 May, Sonora State authorities released 24 abducted migrants and arrested five Honduran kidnappers in the border city of Caborca, Sonora. The migrants, who hailed from Honduras, El Salvador and Cuba, had arrived in the city on 15 May, intending to cross the border. There, they were approached by one of the suspects, who offered them temporary shelter. Once at the “shelter” they were locked and demanded to pay USD 500 for their release. One of the victims was forced to accompany one of the kidnappers and act as an agent for them, attracting other compatriots. The man was also forced to go to a bank to withdraw the ransom money sent by his relatives. During that trip, the victim managed to escape and report the incident to police in the area. The kidnaper was arrested while he waited for the migrant in his car. After the suspect was interrogated, the police was able to find all the other victims. FULL ARTICLE

EUROPE

3. (UK, 21/05/19) Businessman’s son kidnapped and tortured in London

Two men and a woman were tried in the Southwark Crown Court for the kidnapping for ransom and torture of the son of a local businessman. Saleh Al-Hindi was kidnapped after he was lured to the apartment of the female suspect with the promise of a late night massage. Al-Hindi was blindfolded and assaulted, having his £3,000 diamond-encrusted teeth pulled out. The group then contacted the victim’s family and demanded £50,000, threatening to kill him if no payment was made. Reportedly, the victim was also threated to be given a lethal dose of heroin. The police located the victim within 14 hours and arrested the kidnappers. FULL ARTICLE

MIDDLE EAST

4. (SYRIA, 22/05/19) Italian hostage released after three years

On 22 May, the Italian government announced the release of an Italian man who had been held hostage in Syria for almost three years. The statement said that Italian intelligence, police and the foreign ministry had worked together to secure the release of Alessandro Sandrini. Sandrini disappeared in October 2016 soon after flying to Turkey for a holiday. A year later, he called his family, telling them he had been seized off the streets of Adana, southern Turkey. His captors released two subsequent videos, including one posted online in July 2018, showing him dressed in an orange jumpsuit with two armed men standing behind him. After his release, Sandrini recounted his kidnapping. He said he had been drugged while by someone who put something on his face, as he was on his way back to his hotel. When he woke up, he found himself in a room with two armed hooded people. Meanwhile, a representative of the rebel coalition in power in northwestern Syria said the Italian had been held captive by an unnamed “group carrying out kidnappings”. They reportedly got in touch with the kidnappers through “informants” and negotiated until “the hostage was released”, said Ahmed Latuff of the so-called Salvation Government, which is the civilian branch of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Al Nusra Front). According to some media outlets, Sandrini is expected to be confined to his residence after his return to Italy as he is implicated in two criminal cases, including handling stolen goods and burglary. Sandrini is the second Italian hostage in Syria to be released in the last two months. The first was businessman Sergio Zanotti, who was also seized in 2016. FULL ARTICLE (1)

AFRICA

5. (SOUTH AFRICA, 19/05/19) African businessman kidnapped by Zimbabweans

Eastern Cape police rescued a 24-year-old Mthatha businessman who was held captive for five days. His kidnappers had reportedly demanded a ransom of one-million rand (approximately USD 70,000) from his family, threatening to kill him within two days if no payment was received. The victim’s family reported the incident to the police, who engaged the criminals at the location where the ransom was to be handed over. One suspect, a Zimbabwe national, died on the scene. The other kidnapper, also a Zimbabwean, was arrested. FULL ARTICLE

ASIA

6. (AFGHANISTAN, 20/05/19) Kidnapped man rescued in Faryab

On 18 May, the Afghan National Police rescued an abducted man and detained one kidnapper in the Pashtun Kot district of Faryab province. AK-47, grenade bombs, and military ammunition were seized during raid. The man had been kidnapped on 16 May in Maimana, the capital city of the province. After his kidnapping, the victim was transferred to Pashtun Kot and held inside a well for two days. It is not clear if a ransom was demanded for the victim’s release. FULL ARTICLE