ASIA

Afghanistan

14 August A spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Afghanistan, said that five members had been kidnapped by the Taliban from Sultan Khum Khan, Adraskan, Herat Province, while delivering aid. A police spokesman later stated that four of the ICRC employees were locals but did not state the nationality of the fifth victim. The police and tribal leaders are working together to try to locate and free the victims. Kidnappings increased in 2013 which has led to the departure of many foreign nationals.

18 August An official government spokesman said that seven of the eleven members of a demining team who were kidnapped on 15 August by the Taliban in Ghazni Province had been released as a result of efforts by tribal elders. Efforts are continuing to obtain the release of the remaining four members of the team. The eleven men were driving from Kandahar to Kabul when they were stopped by the kidnappers.

India

5 August Subodh Mishra, an employee of the State Bank of India (SBI), was kidnapped by six unidentified gunmen while travelling to Barengapara in West Garo Hills after work. He called his family on 9 August. The kidnappers contacted the bank and demanded Rs.1 crore (USD165,500) that they later reduced to Rs.5 lakh (USD8,300). The police believe the kidnapping was carried out by the ASAK militant group. Another SBI employee, Arvind Kumar, Manager of SBI Ampati branch, was kidnapped near Garobadha but was rescued near Mellim in West Garo Hills.

13 August For the second day at least 41 SBI branches remained closed in five districts of the Garo Hills region of Meghalaya in protest against a series of kidnappings of their staff.

19 August Avalahalli police arrested two youths who had allegedly kidnapped Tejus (8), the son of Nagaraju, a realtor who had recently sold his property. On 10 August the two youths kidnapped the boy from a temple, took him to a female friend’s house and told her he was their nephew. They called Nagaraju and demanded Rs. 50 lakh (USD83,000). On learning that the boy’s father had informed the police, they abandoned their plan and took the boy to Baiyappanahalli lake where they abandoned him and fled.

Pakistan

2 August An anti-terrorism court remanded three suspects in judicial custody for kidnapping Abdullah (10), on 19 June in Karachi. The kidnappers demanded Rs. 10 million (USD100,000) from the victim’s parents. On 21 July the police raided a house, rescued the victim and arrested the suspects.

13 August American aid worker Warren Weinstein (70) was kidnapped on this day in 2011 from his residence in Lahore. The kidnapping happened four days before he was due to return home after serving for 7 years in Pakistan. His family have not received any substantive updates since the kidnappers released a video of him last Christmas. On 14 August, the al Qaeda media wing, Al Sahab, released a short statement in Arabic and English urging the family to do everything in their power to pressure the Obama administration to work to secure the victim’s release. The statement also claimed that the US government had not contacted them and had not made any serious efforts towards obtaining his release.

29 August Ajmal Khan, vice-chancellor of Islamia University Peshawar, was rescued in an operation by the security forces in North Waziristan tribal region near the border with Afghanistan. He had been kidnapped in September 2010 by militants from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The victim appeared in videos released by the TTP in which he begged the authorities to negotiate his release but an agreement was never reached. The TTP were demanding the release of several of their commanders.

FAR EAST

Malaysia

8 August Mozibur Rahman (33), a Bangladeshi worker, and a fellow Bangladeshi were kidnapped by another group of foreign workers thought to be from Myanmar in Bukit Jambul. Mozibur received a call asking him to fix kitchen cabinets in a flat in Bukit Jambul. He went with his friend, Hussin Mohammed Alahi (39), to a building near a hotel where they were approached by a bogus policeman who asked for their passports and then told them to accompany him to a police station as the passports were false. They were blindfolded and taken to Bukit Gambir where they were kept tied up. The kidnappers demanded RM240,000 (USD75,000) from them for their release. Mozibur managed to bite through the rope and escape after 24 hours in captivity. He went to a police station and the police raided the location but the kidnappers had fled. The body of Hussin was found at the location.

Philippines

4 August During a press conference in Zamboanga City, General Gregorio Catapang warned that the al Qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) were increasing their kidnapping activities in order to raise funds with which to buy arms. The common targets are traders and wealthy individuals. He said ASG is down to about 200 members but they are equipped with sophisticated weapons such as shoulder fired anti-tank launchers, M60 sub-machine guns, assault rifles and M203 grenade launchers. He added that during the first six months of 2014, 78 ASG members had been killed.

13 August Philippine troops mounted a search and rescue operation on Jolo Island after a photograph of two Germans, Stefan Viktor Okonek (74) and Henrike Dielen (42), holding a German flag and surrounded by 10 armed men with their faces covered, appeared on the Internet. The two victims were kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf rebels from their yacht off the western province of Palawan on 25 April.

18 August Hooded gunmen wearing military uniform kidnapped businesswoman, Michelle Panes (36), and tried to kidnap her husband, Noel Adrian Panes, and a bystander in Labuan, Zamboanga City, during the evening. The bystander was freed while the victim’s husband fought off the kidnappers and escaped. Three gunmen entered the grocery store owned by the couple at about 7:45pm on the pretence of searching for illegal drugs. The couple were dragged to two waiting speed boats but Noel escaped during the confusion of a shoot out with police. His wife was taken by the gunmen towards Zamboanga del Norte. The authorities said that no group had claimed responsibility for the kidnapping but are believed to be a kidnap for ransom group.

19 August According to the Zamboanga del Sur police chief, Rudy Luna was released by his kidnappers at the fishing port of Tukuran town. On 27 January, several gunmen kidnapped the victim and his wife Tessie from their residence in Barangay Diplo, Kumalarang town. Tessie managed to escape as they were being forced onto a speedboat. The family are said to have paid a ransom of P500,000 (USD11,500).

28 August Ronald Pelegrin (36), chief mechanic of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPHW) in Patikul, Sulu, was released by his kidnappers, Abu Sayyaf gunmen, following negotiations. The victim was seized along with his younger cousin, Renante Avilla, from in front of their wives in their residence on 15 August. Avilla was shot and killed while trying to resist being kidnapped. The police and military would not confirm or deny if a ransom was paid. However, a source working closely to the negotiations, said a “huge” amount of money and twp automatic rifles were exchanged for the release of the victim whose family had earlier revealed that the kidnappers had called with a ransom demand of P15 million (USD345,000).

30 August The body of Benito Chao, owner of an umbrella store, was found in Barangay Guyong, Santa Maria, Bulacan. He had been shot in the head. The victim was kidnapped in Caloocan City on 27 August. The kidnappers contacted his family and demanded P20 million (USD460,000) for his release. The family managed to negotiate the demand down to P15 million (USD345,000). They contacted the National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group but the kidnappers appear to have learned this as they sent a text message saying “your son is naughty”. Several hours later the family received another text message telling them where they could find the victim’s body.

30 August Francisco Enot, an engineer, his wife Loida and a friend, Danilo Bariga, were released by their kidnappers on the boundaries of Madalum and Bacolod Kalawi towns in Lanao del Sur. They had been kidnapped at around 5:00pm on 15 August in Barangay Paraaba, Ganassi, Lanao del Sur, by five armed men. The authorities are trying to verify reports that a ransom was paid.

Taiwan

18 August Shih Chia-chin, a businessman who allegedly accumulated a fortune worth tens of millions of US dollars through illegal gambling, was kidnapped after being collected from Taoyuan airport by his chauffeur, Hsieh Yuan-hsin. Three hours after his arrival, the accountant at Mr. Shih’s company received a telephone call from the kidnappers demanding a ransom of TW$50 million (USD1.67 million). After negotiations, the family wired TW30 million (USD1 million) to three nominated banks and alerted the police. Hsieh tried to withdraw the ransom but fled when a bank clerk asked for his ID. Mr. Shih’s body was found in a ditch in a remote area of Tainan city on the evening of 24 August. Local media said the victim had survived a kidnapping attempt four years previously.

Vietnam

14 August Trinh (29) was rescued by police from the Thu Le Hotel, Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City, and arrested two men. Trinh had been kidnapped by several men who contacted her family and demanded VND200 million (USD9000) for her release. They claimed that this was a gambling debt. Trinh’s sister alerted the police who traced where she was being held and mounted a rescue operation. The leader of the gang, Dung, and other members had left the hotel before the police arrived

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