Kidnap & Ransom update October 23, 2018
23-Oct-18

AMERICAS

1. (CHILE, 19/10/18) Kidnappers of Colombian national arrested

Chilean police arrested two people suspected in the kidnapping for ransom of a Colombian citizen in metropolitan Santiago. The Colombian barber was kidnapped on 7 September from his workplace in the district of Lo Espejo by three armed men who forced him into a van. The kidnappers reportedly demanded a CLP 10 million (USD 14,700) ransom from the victim’s employer, threatening to kill the hostage if this was not paid. According to the authorities, the man was released the next day, following negotiations and without any payment. FULL ARTICLE (1)

2. (VENEZUELA, 19/10/18) Police officers arrested for kidnapping in Amazonas

Four officers of the Scientific, Criminal and Criminal Investigation Corps (CICPC) were arrested for their alleged responsibility in the kidnapping of a man in the state of Amazonas. The officials, all attached to the homicides unit in Puerto Ayacucho, allegedly stopped the victim’s vehicle on 13 October, as he was transiting through the state capital. The accused reportedly subdued the victim and took him to the headquarters of the homicides unit of the Cicpc in the city, where they hid him in one of the offices. Soon after, the officers called the victim’s wife to demand 5 million Colombian pesos (USD 1,700) in exchange of the man’s freedom. The victim’s wife reported the incident to the Venezuelan army, who communicated with commanders within the CICPC in that jurisdiction and proceeded to make an inspection, leading to the discovery of the victim and arrest of the police officers. FULL ARTICLE (1)

3. (MEXICO, 19/10/18) Body found outside shop of kidnapped businessman in Cancún

On 19 October, the dismembered body of a man was found outside one of the shops belonging to Colombian businessman Oscar Pérez Wall, who was recently kidnapped and released after the payment of a large ransom. Wall, the owner of several barber shops across Mexico, was kidnapped on 14 October outside a night club in Cancún. He was taken alongside one of his employees, who was found dead later on the same day. The businessman was released after four days, allegedly following the payment of a ransom amounting to several million pesos. It is believed the body may be some sort of warning message for Wall, from the group who kidnapped him. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)

4. (COSTA RICA, 22/10/18) Body of kidnapped American found in San José
The body of William Sean Creighton, an American businessman in the online gambling industry, was found in an undisclosed area of San José on 22 October. The businessman was last seen on the night of 24 September, after he dropped an employee in his home. According to initial investigations, Creighton was forced off the road by armed men on a o vehicle and two motorcycles. His crashed car was later found by Costa Rican police. The kidnappers soon contacted Creighton’s Costa Rican wife, demanding a ransom between USD 750,000 and 1 million. The money was to be paid in cryptocurrency, to a bank account connected to Cuba. One of the most recent police reports suggests that the kidnappers have also fled there. It is believed the kidnappers may be people known to the victim or in collaboration with individuals close to him. The discovery of the victim’s body comes just a few days after news of the kidnapping broke in the media. FULL ARTICLE

EUROPE

5. (SWITZERLAND, 21/10/18) Switzerland opens investigation into maritime kidnapping in Nigeria

The public prosecutor of the Swiss city of Basel has opened an investigation into the hijacking of a Swiss-registered ship off the coast of Nigeria in September. Ransom negotiations with the attackers, who kidnapped 12 crew members, are ongoing. Although none of the hostages are of Swiss nationality, the fact that the MV Glarus is registered with a Swiss company (Massoel Shipping in Geneva) warranted the opening of a Swiss enquiry. However, as the incident does not involve any Swiss citizens, the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not providing consular assistance or financial aid. The MV Glarus was attacked on 22 September while on route from Lagos to Port Harcourt with a cargo of cereal. Some 45 nautical miles southwest of Bonny Island, pirates took the ship’s crew – seven Filipinos, a Croatian, a Bosnian, a Slovenian, a Ukrainian, and a Romanian- hostage. It is reported that the Nigerian militant group Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) is behind the kidnapping of the MV Glarus’ crew. The group is also said to be responsible for the kidnapping of the 11-man crew of Dutch ship FWN Rapide on 21 April, releasing the hostages after a month in captivity. FULL ARTICLE (1)

MIDDLE EAST

6. (IRAN, 22/10/18) Iranian terrorist group claims abduction of border guards

Iran’s semi-official news agency ISNA reported on 22 October that terrorist group Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice in Arabic) has claimed responsibility for the abduction of 12 Iranian security personnel near the border with Pakistan, posting two photos of the hostages. The photos show seven members of the elite Revolutionary Guards force (including two intelligence officers) and five police commandos, all in combat gear, behind a stock of weaponry, apparently seized from the Iranian forces. It is unknown if the group has made any demands. The Iranian officers were abducted near the village of Lulakdan, in the province Sistan-Baluchistan, on 16 October. According to Iranian officials, the victims were made unconscious by a “single infiltrator” and then taken to bases inside Pakistan. The Pakistani government has said it has launched “active” efforts to locate the missing men. Jaish al-Adl, formed in 2012, is a successor to the Sunni extremist group Jundallah (Soldiers of God), which claiming to defend the rights of the Sunni Baluchi people, has carried out a series of attacks on Iranian security forces in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)

7. (ISRAEL, 22/10/18) Palestinian Authority officials arrested over kidnapping of American national

Israel has arrested Adnan Gheith, Palestinian governor of Jerusalem, and Jihad Fahiq, director of intelligence services of the Palestinian Authority, suspected of having helped abduct an Arab resident of Jerusalem, who is also an American citizen. The victim was reportedly abducted two weeks ago and is currently being held by the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank. According to Israeli media, the detained US citizen was wanted by the Palestinian Authority for helping sell property in Jerusalem’s old city to Jewish buyers. The Palestinian Authority condemned what it said was the “abduction” of its two officials, but it did not comment on the specifics of the charges. Meanwhile, a US embassy spokesperson said the US authorities were aware of the incident. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2)

AFRICA

8. (SOUTH SUDAN, 20/10/18) 900 abducted South Sudan civilians still missing

According to the UN, 900 people abducted in South Sudan’s Western Equatoria region during a surge in violence between April and August 2018, prior to the signing of a peace deal between rebels and the government, are still missing. The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), along with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said women and girls as young as 12 were abducted by the rebel forces, and forced to marry the group’s commanders or subjected to repeated rape by lower-level units. Abducted young men and boys have reportedly been forced to be fighters or used as porters. FULL ARTICLE

ASIA

9. (MALAYSIA, 20/10/18) Three held over abduction of Indian national

Three local men have been detained by Malaysian police over the abduction of an Indian national. The Indian man was abducted on 14 October in the Sentul area of Kuala Lumpur, and later taken to the town Sungai Pelek in Selangor. The suspects had reportedly approached the victim, who is a Hindu priest, by requesting his services to carry out a religious ceremony. The victim was rescued and his captors arrested during a police raid on 17 October. The motive behind the incident is still under investigation, although the police believe it was a kidnapping for ransom. FULL ARTICLE (1) (2) (3)

10. (PHILIPPINES, 22/10/18) Police arrest kidnappers of Chinese national

The Philippine National Police (PNP) filed criminal charges against two Chinese nationals and two Filipinos for the alleged kidnapping of a Chinese man. The suspects, believed to be members of a loan shark ring, allegedly kidnapped Zhirong Lin in front of a casino in Barangay Tambo of Parañaque City on 13 October. According to reports, the suspects initially demanded a ransom of 200 million yuan (nearly USD 29 million), which was later decreased to 160,000 yuan (USD 23,000). The victim’s relatives sought the help of the anti-kidnapping police, who conducted an entrapment operation on 19 October at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City, where the ransom payment was to take place. The kidnappers were arrested in possession of the victim at the checkpoint set by the police outside the Terminal 3 of the airport. FULL ARTICLE (1)