SECURITY UPDATE – APRIL 2014


ASIA


Afghanistan


15 April Ahmad Shah Waheed, deputy minister for public works, was kidnapped along with his driver in Kabul as he was on his way to work at around 7:30am local time. The motive for the kidnapping is not clear but kidnapping for ransom of wealthy individuals is common in the country.

India


27 April The body of Rohan Gucchait (12), a student at All Saints High School, Bhiwandi, was found in a ditch in Kalyan (West). The victim had been kidnapped on 17 April when he went to buy a cricket bat. On 18 April the victim’s father, Istiyaq Shaikh, received a telephone call demanding a ransom of Rs. 50 lakh (USD83,000). The victim was strangled the same day and his body chopped up using an electric saw when the leader of the kidnappers learned the boy’s family had informed the police. The remains of the victim’s body were found in three adjacent locations. The kidnappers contacted the family twice after killing their victim demanding a ransom but broke off the calls when his mother asked to speak to Rohan. The police were able to trace the kidnappers after a ransom call was made from a plumber’s telephone to Istiyaq Shaikh.

Pakistan


8 April Moazzam Kalru, Deputy Secretary of the National Assembly, arrived back home after being kidnapped on 25 January from Multan’s Nawabpur area while driving to his farmhouse. No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping but police reports suggest that a small gang-war group was involved. Media reports said that he was released after payment of a ransom of Rs. 4 crore (USD392,000).

12 April The police in Peshawar reported that they had unearthed two kidnapping gangs that have police commandos among their members and have kidnapped local traders for ransom. An official police jeep, uniforms of the Elite Police Force, two wireless sets, two Kalashnikov rifles and four pistols were recovered from the gangs. A source said one of the gang members was a serving member of the Elite Force, another was part of the Counter Terrorism Department and a third was a member of the security squad of the Inspector General of Police.

16 April The police in Lahore stated that kidnap victim, Zahid Mahmood, had been rescued and two men arrested on charges of kidnapping. The victim was kidnapped in the Manawan area of the city and the kidnappers had demanded a ransom of Rs.5 million (USD50,000).

16 April A spokesman for the police in Quetta confirmed the kidnapping of a Bahraini teenager, Amin Abdullah Abdulhamed (18), who is originally from Baluchistan. The victim returned to art college in Quetta in August 2013. He was kidnapped on 1 March 2014 while shopping in the city. The kidnappers have twice contacted Pakistan based relatives of the victim and initially demanded BHD18,000 (USD47,700) for his release but increased this on the second occasion to BHD78,000 (USD207,000) after the family failed to pay the original demand.

17 April Two Pakistani men working for the United Nations Children’s Fund were kidnapped in Karachi. The men were travelling to a bus terminal to collect relatives when they were kidnapped. It was not clear who was responsible for the incident and no ransom call had been received.

26 April According to security sources, a fresh video of Ali Haider Gilani, son of former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, has been received. In the video he states that he is not being held by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) but by kidnappers who are demanding Rs. 2 billion (USD2 million) for his release. The video is said to show the victim in “pretty bad shape” and he is shackled with guns pointing at his head. The victim was kidnapped from a polling station in Multan on 11 May 2013 while sitting in his car.

28 April According to a source in the ministry of interior, criminals have started kidnapping doctors in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in order to get treatment for their accomplices and not for ransom.

28 April It was reported that there had been a sharp rise in the incidents of kidnapping for ransom in Interior Sindh Province which includes Sukkur, Larkana and Khairpur. It is estimated there are eight to ten cases reported each month.

FAR EAST


Cambodia


25 April Cambodian police arrested four Vietnamese nationals, three men and a woman, for allegedly holding two of their countrymen for ransom in two separate kidnapping incidents. The two victims were kidnapped from a casino in Kampot Province and held in Preah Sihanouk Province in an attempt to extort USD14,000 from each of their families. The two victims were identified as Vo Phan Nong, who had been held for a week in a house in Pi commune, and Dong Minh Tieng, who had been held for 23 days in a house in Bei commune.

Malaysia


3 April A 29 year old Chinese national from Shanghai, Gao Hua Yuan, and 40 year old Filipina resort worker, Marcelita M. Dayawan, were kidnapped from Singamata Reef Resort in Semporna, Sabah. At least seven unidentified gunmen, believed to be members of a small band of Filipino Abu Sayyaf rebels affiliated to “sub commander” Murphy Ambang Ladjia, entered the resort around 10:30pm on 2 April and forced the two victims into a boat. They escaped towards The Philippines. There were about 60 Chinese and European tourists at the resort at the time of the incident. The Sabah shores have a history of many kidnappings since a ferry was hijacked by armed men in October 1979. In November 2013 a Taiwanese tourist was kidnapped on Pom-Pom Island after her husband was shot dead. She was later released after it is believed a ransom was paid. A senior security official stated on 6 April that the kidnappers had telephoned the family of Gao Hua Yuan in Shanghai on 4 July and subsequently made more calls. The victims are thought to be being held in Jolo Island, southern Philippines. On 10 April, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi, Home Minister, said that the kidnappers had demanded P500 million or RM36.4 million (USD11.3 million) for the release of Gao Hua Yuan. There had been no demand for the Filipina hostage. On 15 April, intermediaries working towards the release of the Chinese victim said they had received proof she is alive. Sabah police commissioner, Datuk Hamza Taib, confirmed that a photograph of Gao Hua Yuan taken in the southern Philippines had been received. He refused to say when the photograph was taken or to comment if any fresh ransom demand had been received. On 25 April officials in the Philippines said that there had been numerous intelligence reports and accounts from villagers that confirmed the two women were now being held by Abu Sayyaf gunmen in Sulu province.

15 April Speaking to reporters outside the State Assembly, General Datuk Mohammad Mentek, Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) Director, said that security forces had foiled four kidnap for ransom attempts in the East Coast of Sabah during the two months prior to the 3 April incident. He commented that the situation could have been worse as Esscom intelligence officials also detected five kidnapper boats with at least 30 men on board trying to enter the country’s waters in the East Coast since 19 March.

23 April The International Maritime Bureau reported that the Saint Kitts and Nevis owned, Singapore managed diesel tanker, Naniwa Maru 1, was attacked and boarded at about 1:00am in the Malacca Strait on Tuesday 22 April. The incident occurred about 16 nautical miles off the Malaysian coast when up to 12 armed men, said to be Indonesian pirates, boarded the tanker, tied up the crew, robbed the vessel, brought in two other smaller tankers and pumped out a large quantity of fuel, and kidnapped three Indonesian members of the crew including the Captain and Chief Engineer. The crew were made up of Indonesian, Thai, Myanmar and Indian nationals and the vessel was sailing from Singapore to Myanmar. The IMB said it is possible the kidnapped crew members were in on the crime as their personal documents, clothes and belongings were taken by the bandits.

29 April According to security sources, an attempt by a group of kidnappers from southern Philippines to enter Sabah through Semporna waters had failed due to tight security measures being employed in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone).

Philippines


2 April The brother of Benita Latonio (60), a school principal, pleaded with her kidnappers to free his sister after receiving a call from an unidentified caller demanding a ransom payment of P1 million (USD23,000). The victim was kidnapped by armed men who stopped the jeep in which she was travelling with fellow teachers en route to Isabela City from Sumisip in Basilan. Local sources confirmed that the victim was kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf leader Juhaiber Alhamsirul aka Abu Kik.

6 April A police regional spokesman said that a suspect had been arrested in connection with the kidnapping of Michael Kho (27), the son of the owner of a Petron gas station, in Bucana village, Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte, on 2 April. The car in which the kidnappers fled has been recovered but the fate of the victim is not known. A police spokesman said on 14 April that the victim had been released the previous morning at Baranga Labuan, about 30 kilometres west of Zamboanga City. The kidnappers had demanded a ransom of P50 million (USD1.15 million) for the release of the victim. It is not known if a ransom was paid.

20 April Bonifacio Salinas, an engineer, was freed by his kidnappers in Jolo. He had been kidnapped 53 days earlier along with his wife, Claire, in Jolo. His wife was released a month after the kidnapping. A local military spokesman said “there is no information” on whether a ransom was paid or who the kidnappers were.

Vietnam


26 April Ho Chi Minh City’s police force is hunting for two South Korean men who allegedly kidnapped one of their countrymen, Kim Hueng Sik, a restaurant owner, who had sold his restaurant to one of the wanted men. The two kidnappers demanded USD300,000 from the victim. He managed to text a friend, a Vietnamese woman, to ask for help. She informed the police who rescued Kim and arrested a guard.

Information courtesy of Griffin Underwriting

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