Kidnap & Ransom Update – May 7, 2019
7-May-19

AMERICAS

1. (VENEZUELA, 04/05/19) Portuguese businessman killed in express kidnapping

Alfredo Fernandes Abreu, a Portuguese businessman owner of a bakery, was killed on 4 May after being intercepted by armed men on a road in the district of Carrizal, Miranda State. After being intercepted, the expatriate was forced to take the assailants to his home, from where they stole jewels and money, shooting the victim upon their exit. Fernandez Abreu was taken to a hospital but did not survive his injuries. According to Venezuelan authorities, the crime was carried out by a local gang, which has kidnapped at least 14 other traders in the area in recent months. FULL ARTICLE (1)

2. (MEXICO, 04/05/19) Man kidnapped in Hidalgo, rescued in Veracruz

Members of the anti-kidnapping police rescued the son of a farm owner in the district of Paton Sanchez, Veracruz. According to reports, the victim was intercepted on 1 May by four armed men in Huejutla, Hidalgo State, on his way to work at his family’s orange farm. The kidnappers contacted the man’s relatives and demanded a ransom of MXP 10 million (approximately USD 525,000). However, the family decided to report the incident to the authorities, who launched a search and rescue operation on 4 May. No arrests were made. FULL ARTICLE (1)

3. (MEXICO, 06/05/19) FBI investigated 113 kidnapping cases in Mexico in 2018

The US government revealed that the FBI investigated 113 kidnapping and extortion cases involving US citizens in Mexico in 2018, warning its citizens to take extra care when traveling to the country due to a “serious risk of crime.” Reportedly, of the 113 cases, 64 involved US residents and 10 US expatriates, while in 39 cases, an extortion call or ransom demand was placed to a number in the US. FULL ARTICLE

AFRICA

4. (LIBYA, 05/05/19) Pro-Haftar forces kidnap two local journalists

Libya Al-Ahrar TV Channel said two of its journalists were kidnapped on 2 May by the ‘Al-Kanyat militias, an armed group loyal to Khalifa Haftar, as they were covering the ongoing conflict in Tripoli. The channel urged for the immediate release of Mohammed Al-Qurij and Mohammed Al-Shebani, reminding the kidnappers that detaining journalists is liable to local and international legal action. The channel also said it had started taking the necessary measures to secure the release of the journalists. According to local sources, the two journalists were kidnapped while driving in southern Tripoli. Reportedly, one of the kidnappers called the relatives of the journalists and said they would release the hostages the next day after taking them to their base in Tarhouna, but the release did not happen. FULL ARTICLE (1)

5. (LIBYA, 05/05/19) Head of Oil Workers’ Union abducted in eastern Libya

The National Oil Corporation (NOC) demanded the immediate release of the head of the Oil Workers’ Union, Saad Al-Fakhri, who was abducted on 29 April by an armed group near his home in Slouk, about 60 km from Benghazi. NOC expressed deep concern about the safety of Al-Fakhiri, stressing that it will resort to all legal means, both domestically and internationally, to ensure his safe return. FULL ARTICLE

ASIA

6. (SINGAPORE, 06/05/19) Police warn of virtual kidnapping scams from China

On 6 May, Singapore’s police warned of a scam involving fake China government officials who deceive families into paying ransom to secure the release of a loved one. In a recent incident, a 15-year-old student received a call from someone claiming to be a police officer from China. He was told there was a police warrant against him in China for money laundering offences. To cancel the warrant, he needed to transfer money to a bank account in China. As he did not have the money, the caller instructed him to get his parents to pay through a staged kidnap. The teenager complied and checked in to a hotel room on 1 May. He was told not to contact anyone and to take a photograph of himself being tied up, which he had to send to his parents in China and ask them to pay the ransom. The teenager’s parents reportedly transferred 20,000 yuan (nearly USD 3,000) to a Chinese bank account. Police officers later found the teenager safe and sound in the hotel room. FULL ARTICLE