ASIA

Afghanistan

7 April Militants who kidnapped 31 people from a bus in February released a video showing one of the hostages being beheaded. In the video, two masked gunmen speak to a man kneeling in front of them before killing him. The gunmen say they will kill others if the government does not agree to their demands although these were not specified. They identify themselves as belonging to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan that is allied to the Taliban.

20 April Helmand province deputy police chief, Pacha Gul Bakhtyar, said that gunmen wearing police uniforms entered a police station in Lashkar Gar, the provincial capital, and killed three police officers and kidnapped 19 people working for a land mine clearance project, Sterling Demining Afghanistan. Abdul Wali Sahi, deputy governor of Paktia, said the Taliban were responsible for the incident.

India

18 April Raju Sah (35), owner of Rajlaxmi Jewellery shop, in East Champaran, about 200kms north of Patna, Bihar, was kidnapped near Sripur village while travelling to Motihari with his nephew. The kidnappers made ransom calls firstly to his wife’s mobile telephone on the evening of 20 April and secondly to his shop in East Champaran on 21 April. A ransom of Rs.1 crore (USD160,500) was demanded. Sources claimed that the family went to Pipra Village after the kidnappers told them to go there with the ransom money. However, nobody contacted them in the village.

19 April The police arrested the notorious gangster Avtar Singh Tari and his accomplice Gurial Singh, alias Guri, for kidnapping Ram Parkash from Sarabha Nagar area and demanding Rs20 lakh (USD32,100) ransom from his family. The two accused are facing trial on at least 6 accounts including kidnapping, theft and drug peddling.

27 April A mechanical engineer and his lawyer wife were arrested for allegedly kidnapping a 21 year old man from outside his home in Ghatkopar, Mumbai, on 11 March. The victim was released on 13 April eight hours after his family paid a ransom of Rs.2 crore (USD321,000). The police had mounted an entrapment operation at the ransom payment in Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivali. However, when the bag with the money was thrown out of the family car, two men on a motorcycle arrived and sped away with the ransom money. On releasing the victim, the kidnappers gave him Rs.2,000 (USD32) to reach home. The victim told the police that the wife of one of the kidnappers was pregnant and had had a baby. This provided a clue for the police to track down the gang and arrest nine suspects.

Pakistan

5 April The Karachi police arrested eight policemen in connection with the kidnapping of Inamullah, a trader. They had accused him falsely of various crimes and demanded Rs,1.7 million (USD16,700) to release him. A relative reported the matter to the police who arrested the policemen.

23 April The US White House said that two hostages, Warren Weinstein (72), an American citizen, and Giovanni Lo Porto (39), an Italian, who were being held by al Qaeda, were accidentally killed during a US counterterrorism operation in January 2015 in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Two other Americans thought to be al Qaeda members, Ahmed Farouq, a leader, and Adam Gadahn, a spokesman for al Qaeda, were also killed. Unnamed officials told Associated Press the attack that killed the hostages was a CIA drone strike. Warren Weinstein was a development worker who had been kidnapped from his home in Lahore in 2011 having lived in Pakistan for seven years working on economic development projects. Giovanni Lo Porto was working with a German international aid group called Welthungerhilfe, and had been kidnapped when four armed men burst into the building where he lived in Multan on 19 January 2012 and kidnapped him along with his colleague Bernd Muehlenbeck, a German national. Bernd was freed last October and said he had been separated from his colleague. The Italian foreign minister was seeking to explain to Parliament why it took three months for Italy to learn of the death of Giovanni Lo Porto. He said that President Obama had telephoned Prime Minister Matteo Renzi late on the night of 22 April with confirmation of the incident.

On 25 April it was reported that a ransom of USD250,000, made up of USD100 bills and obtained from a “private” source, was paid for Warren Weinstein’s release but his al Qaeda kidnappers did not free him but started making additional demands. The ransom had been negotiated by a Pakistani intermediary and a Pakistani military helicopter was on standby to fly the hostage to safety. Information later came to light that indicated the FBI helped to facilitate the ransom payment to al Qaeda.

FAR EAST

Hong Kong

25 April Queenie Rosita Law (29), the daughter of Raymond Law Ka-kui and granddaughter of Law Ting-pong, the late founder of the Bossini clothing empire, was kidnapped after six men broke into a mansion on Clear Water Bay Road, Sai Kung, and stole HK$2 million (USD25,800) in cash and valuables. On leaving, they took the victim with them. The kidnappers called the victim’s father and initially demanded a ransom of HK$40-50 million (USD5.15 million – USD6.44 million) but later agreed to a payment of HK$28 million (USD3.61 million). The money was packed in 28 bags and two suitcases and taken to Fei Ngor Shan (Kowloon Peak) as instructed by the kidnappers. Members of the gang arrived in a white Honda van and collected the money at around 8:00pm. The victim was released on 28 April and the family then reported the incident to the police who launched a massive manhunt across the city.

Indonesia

19 April The Jakarta Police rescued Thalib Abbas (78), an entrepreneur, who had been kidnapped five days earlier from his house in Jagakarsa, South Jakarta. The kidnappers consisted of seven men, one posing as a police officer, from his house after they failed to find his son, Kemal Rafli. The kidnappers contacted the victim’s family and demanded a ransom of Rp400 million (USD31,000). According to the police, the family wired Rp25 million (USD2,000) to a bank account in the name of Muhamad Arifin Ilham, that turned out to be a fake name used by one of the gang. The kidnappers subsequently sent the family a letter via a courier demanding the remaining ransom and including a photo of the victim in chains. The police raided the house where the victim was being held and arrested six of the eight suspects.

Philippines

1 April About ten men armed with high powered rifles, attempted to kidnap Chzarenia Kapa Sajulga, the female owner of a bakery in Pitogo town, Zamboanga del Sur, at around 5:30pm. Eye witnesses reported that the gang, believed to be members of a kidnap for ransom gang that operates in the Zamboanga peninsula, arrived at the fish port in two motorised pump boats and went to the bakery. The intended victim locked herself in a room and the gang were unable to abduct her. The police, alerted by the sound of firing, responded to the incident and engaged the gang members in a fire fight. The gang withdrew taking with them Ace Jay Garban (3), Zynielle Jay P. Garban (2), both grandchildren of Mayor Richard Garban of Pitogo, and Ledegie C. Tomarong (17), as hostages. They fled out to sea in their pump boats with their three young hostages. On 3 April, the remains of Zynielle Garban were fished out of the sea by fishermen near the shore of Pitogo town. The police investigation showed that the 2 year old had been strangled and thrown in the sea.

3 April The authorities confirmed that four people, named as Jason Cababayo, whose family owns J Trade Concrete Products and Construction Supply in General Santos City, architect Raulito Suyom Jr., Francis Wong and Rho Steven, had been kidnapped. Reports state that the four men were heading for General Santos City on 29 March to meet with a client when gunmen intercepted their vehicle along the national highway in Shariff Aguak town, Magindanao. It is believed that the kidnappers have contacted the victims’ families and demanded P10 million (USD223,500) for their release.

7 April Mayor Gemma Adana of Naga, Zamboanga Sibugay, was kidnapped by five gunmen who entered her residence in Taytay Manubo village at around 9:15pm and forcibly took her from in front of friends. The kidnappers fled with their victim by motorboat towards Kalintana village, Naga. On 21 April, Colonel Rolando Bautista, commander of the Army’s 104th Infantry Brigade based at Basilan, told reporters that it was initially thought the victim had been brought to Basilan but in fact she was taken to the Abu Sayyaf island stronghold of Sulu. She is now in the hands of the al Qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf militant group. He added that the militant group have demanded P100 million (USD2.26 million) ransom for her safe release.

7 April Jaspar Singh Malhi (31), an Indian money lender, was kidnapped in Barangay Datu Salun, Marilog District, outside Davao City. Days later, the kidnappers contacted the victim’s family and demanded P30 million (USD670,400) for the victim’s release. After negotiations, the demand was reduced to P200,000 (USD4,500). On 13 April, the police arrested an Indian national and two Filipino accomplices. They are looking for a further two Filipinos. The victim was rescued and no ransom was paid.

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