Kidnap & Ransom update November 11, 2018
11-Nov-18

AMERICAS

1. (VENEZUELA, 07/11/18) Portuguese businessman rescued in Miranda

On 7 November, Police in the municipality of Zamora, Miranda State, rescued a Portuguese businessman who was kidnapped on 6 November. Tiago da Costa Pinto, was kidnapped by three armed men as he was opening his business, a pet food shop located in the town of Araira. Relatives of the victim reported the incident on social networks. Upon learning of the incident, local authorities set up a security operation for the rescue of the foreign national. Although the victim was recovered safe, the criminals managed to escape following an armed confrontation with the security forces. No more details were available. FULL ARTICLE

AFRICA

2. (SOUTH AFRICA, 09/11/18) Free State kidnappers demand ransom in gold

Eight people have been arrested in connection with the kidnapping of the wife of a manager at Harmony mine in Welkom, Free State. The victim was abducted outside her workplace in the early hours of 7 November. According to reports, her kidnappers had demanded gold as ransom. Acting upon a tipoff, Free State police carried out a security operation in the locality of Sebokeng, near Johannesburg, on 9 November. Eight suspects were arrested and the victim was rescued unharmed. Police additionally recovered ZAR 500,000 (nearly USD 35,000) in cash, 21 gold nuggets (approximately 7kg), arms, and four luxury vehicles. It is unknown if any ransom had been paid for the victim prior to the operation. FULL ARTICLE

3. (MADAGASCAR, 10/11/18) Indian trader’s daughter rescued from kidnappers

On 10 November, Malagasy authorities carried out a rescue operation in the locality of Ambondromamy, following reports by residents who said they had seen men bringing an unknown Indian girl to the area. Upon arrival, the security forces fired warning shots, forcing the kidnappers to retreat and leave the hostage behind. The 11-year-old girl, identified as “Rahima”, was kidnapped on 5 November while attending an event for the election campaign of a presidential candidate. She had been accompanied by a servant, who was neutralised by the kidnappers during the attack. A bystander who tried to stop the abduction was shot by the criminals. Reportedly, the kidnappers initially demanded a ransom of 200 million Ariary (USD 56,000) from Rahima’s father. After negotiations, the amount was decreased to 70 million Ariary (USD 19,500). The kidnappers claimed the child was sick and threatened to bury her alive if the ransom was not paid. FULL ARTICLE

ASIA

4. (THAILAND, 07/11/18) Member of kidnapping gang targeting Chinese nationals surrenders

On 6 November, a former Thai soldier turned himself in after learning he was suspected by police of being member of a kidnapping gang led by an army general, and which abducted a number of Chinese businessmen for ransom. However, the man denied involvement in the said crimes. Mr Thitikorn said he and four associates, who have already been arrested, had provided bodyguard services for a man named Uthit Kokaew, who with other men, accompanied a Chinese businessman to meet Maj Gen Jaroon Ampha, the development project coordination chief of the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters. Mr Thitikorn said he and his colleagues had no knowledge about the alleged abduction because all conversations between Mr Uthit‘s people and the Chinese businessman were in Mandarin language. The Chinese businessman, identified as Surachai sae Yang, was reportedly abducted from his office in Bung Kum district in July. His kidnappers had reportedly demanded a ransom of 20 million baht (over USD 602,000). He was released after paying 2 million baht (over USD 60,000). Police investigations determined that the group suspected in this incident was linked to at least 9 other cases, obtaining a combined amount of 50 million baht (USD 1.5 million) from their victims. Chinese businesspeople who had fake Thai ID cards or business documents, or were in the process of acquiring them, were the group’s preferred targets. Other members of the gang are sergeants at the military police unit and police officers. Among the arrested suspects there is also a Singaporean national. FULL ARTICLE

5. (PHILIPPINES, 09/11/18) New extortion scheme by government officials in Quezon City

From subtly demanding fees from businessmen, some corrupt officials at Quezon City Hall have reportedly moved to “kidnapping” official documents in exchange for a payment. Reportedly, a number of businessmen have reported that after going to the City Hall to collect permits or other documentation, they have been informed the documents were missing or withheld, but that with the payment of a fee, these could be “found”. It is unknown if this practice has been generalised or it takes place sporadically. FULL ARTICLE

6. (MALAYSIA, 09/11/18) Four charged for kidnapping of Bangladeshi expatriates

A Bangladeshi national and three Malaysian men have been charged for the kidnapping of two Bangladeshi construction workers in October. The men were abducted from their living compound in Forest City, Johor, on 24 October. In addition to stealing RM 12,000 (nearly USD 3,000) from one the victims, the criminals demanded a ransom of RM 40,000 (nearly USD 10,000) from the victims’ relatives. The workers were held for two days until they were rescued by Malaysian authorities. FULL ARTICLE