12 August Three Pakistanis working with a Lahore based company on the construction of the Torkham-Jalalabad highway project, were released in Nagarhar province three days after being kidnapped. It is uncertain who was responsible for the incident. However, a tribal elder who secured the victims’ release, confirmed that the workers were freed after an assurance that work on the project would stop.
17 August A senior Afghan police officer said that an unnamed German woman who works for the German aid agency, GIZ, was kidnapped when two gunmen stopped her car in the Qala-e-Fatullah district of Kabul after she had left her office. The gunmen dragged her from her car. GIZ workers speaking anonymously said that the aid agency’s offices had been under lockdown since the previous week because of threats. “GIZ sent all non-essential staff on holiday, dozens of them”, one worker is reported as saying. “They asked everyone else to work from home, and asked all of us to stop all movements, except for essential ones”. The US embassy in Kabul had issued an “emergency message” earlier in the week warning US citizens to avoid Qala-e-Fatullah because of the imminent threat to foreigners. On 18 August, an unnamed GIZ source said that all operations in Kabul had been suspended and foreign nationals had been evacuated, mainly to Dubai.
29 August The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that Dmytro Bilyi, a Ukrainian, had been freed “as a result of active efforts of the Russian authorities in close cooperation with the Afghan side” but would not give further details. The Ukrainian authorities confirmed in early August that the victim was being held hostage after a video appeared on the Internet. He had worked in Afghanistan with a construction company for ten years.
2 August The Upperpart police arrested eight suspects in the kidnapping of a gold merchant about one month ago. The suspects, posing as members of the Vellore police, kidnapped Drukeshin Khatri, in Vellore. The victim had travelled to Andhra Pradesh, purchased some gold and then returned to Vellore. The kidnappers bundled him into a vehicle saying they were from the police. They told him they were holding him for questioning as they had received information that he had unaccounted money in his possession. During the journey, they robbed him of gold and cash and then left him and fled. The police found 559 grams of gold worth Rs.12 lakh (USD19,260) and Rs.2.92 lakh in cash (USD4,700) when they arrested the suspects.
6 August After a tip off, the police in Indore thwarted the attempted kidnapping of a petrol pump owner from Dhammond, Dhar. The police arrested five men from Uttar Pradesh including three sharp shooters. The leader of the kidnapping gang had hired the sharp shooters and had intended to demand a ransom of Rs.10 crore (USD1.6 million).
8 August Tomy Patel, an aluminium trader from Ahmedabad, was rescued by police from a shop in Mevat, Delhi, after being lured by a Haryana kidnap gang to Delhi on the pretext that a member of the gang, posing as a metal trader, wanted to place an order. The kidnappers contacted the victim’s family and demanded a ransom of Rs.15 lakh (USD24,000). The family informed the Ahmedabad police who, in turn, contacted the Delhi police. This was the third incident of kidnapping of a trader who had been lured from their business location to another city on the pretext of doing business. A caterer from Prahladnagar was lured to Andhra Pradesh on the pretext of placing an order and then kidnapped. In another incident, a scrap dealer from Ahmedabad was called to Delhi to strike a deal and then kidnapped.
20 August United States government officials said that Islamic militants had demanded ransom payments for the return of the bodies of aid workers Warren Weinstein, an American, and Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian, who were kidnapped and held hostage for a number of years before being killed in a drone strike. A few days after the drone strike, a group secretly contacted the US government with the ransom demands.
23 August Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Interior Minister, told reporters that Hong Xudong, a Chinese tourist, had been rescued by security forces and intelligence agencies after being kidnapped by the Taliban on 19 May 2014. He had been cycling through Pakistan after entering from India and was heading for Iran, when kidnapped near the western city of Dera Ismail Khan. Abdullah Bahar, a senior Taliban commander, told Reuters soon after the kidnapping that the Chinese citizen was in the Islamist militants’ custody. The Chinese Embassy said that the rescue had been obtained through the combined efforts of China and Pakistan.
10 August The Hong Kong police announced that they had recovered HKD15 million (USD1.93 million) in HKD1,000 notes that were buried near the cave where kidnapping victim Queenie Law was held on Kowloon Peak. An additional HKD6.5 million (USD837.600) had been recovered earlier in mainland China. Queenie Law (29) was kidnapped from her luxury home at Clearwater Bay, Sai Kung, on 25 April 2015 and released three days later after her family had paid a ransom of HKD28 million (USD3.6 million). To date, 10 men from mainland China have been arrested in connection with the kidnapping.
30 August A top Hong Kong insurance broker said that major hotels and casino groups were taking out kidnapping and ransom insurance policies against the kidnapping of wealthy or celebrity guests as a result of a rise in the number of kidnappings over unpaid gambling debts.
4 August Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman, Sabah Police Commissioner, announced that the 7pm to 5am curfew covering six districts was being extended to 21 August. He added there are threats from kidnap for ransom groups and Abu Sayyaf members who are planning to enter Sabah to commit crimes. The curfew was originally imposed in July 2014 after the kidnapping of a marine policeman on Pulau Mabul off Semporna. The most recent kidnapping incident was on 14 May 2015 when gunmen stormed the Ocean King Seafood Restaurant in Sandakan and kidnapped the owner and a customer before fleeing to the Philippines.
5 August The kidnappers of a restaurant owner, Thien Nyuk Fun, and a customer, Bernard Thed Ten Fen, from the Ocean King Seafood Restaurant in Sandakan, reduced their ransom demand from RM30 million (USD8,220,000) per person to RM15 million (USD4,110,000). The Sabah Police Commissioner said that the authorities have been negotiating with the kidnappers and will continue to try to reduce the ransom demand as the families cannot afford to pay the amount demanded.
21 August Malaysian police arrested ten people aged between 24 and 42 years, including six security personnel, two civil servants, one former interior designer and a kindergarten teacher, in an operation across six states for allegedly having links to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said: “We believe they were planning to acquire weapons to launch attacks in Malaysia. One of those arrested is a woman who married a Malaysian ISIS member via Skype while he was fighting in Syria. Her husband returned home and was arrested last month. It is believed ISIS sympathisers are planning to kidnap VIPs for ransom to raise funds for their cause.
21 August Jolo based anti-kidnapping activist, Professor Octovio Dinampo said that kidnapped Ocean Kingfood Restaurant manager, Thien Nyuk Fun (50), and fellow hostage, Bernard Then Ted Fen (39), who were kidnapped in Sandakan on 14 May 2015, are being held by Abu Sayyaf sub commander Indang Susukan who is demanding 30 million Pesos (USD712,300) for their release. However, the situation is complicated as Indang’s uncle Abu Hamry (a former general in the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)) wants 80 million Pesos (USD1.92 million). Malaysian and Filipino intermediaries are in constant contact with the kidnappers but the families are not able to raise the money. A social worker who declined to be named, said that reports suggest the health of Thien, who suffers from high blood pressure and other medical conditions, is deteriorating rapidly in spite of receiving her prescribed medication. She is said to be crying every day amid taunts by gunmen that they will behead her and Bernard if they do not receive the ransom demanded. The social worker added that Bernard is holding up well in spite of the daily threats of being beheaded. On 24 August, Chan Wai See, the wife of Bernard, said she had received a telephone call telling her that her husband faces beheading soon.
24 August Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman, Sabah Police Commissioner, said that the 7:00pm to 5:00am curfew which ended on 22 August was to be extended until 6 September. He added: “The decision to extend the curfew is to ensure the security of tourists and the people of Sabah as threats of kidnapping and cross border crime are still present”.
12 August According to the military, the decapitated body of Rodolfo Buligao, Barangay Chairman of Barangay Aliguay Island, Dapitan City, had been found the previous evening in Labah village, Maimbung, Sulu province, a known Abu Sayyaf stronghold. Villagers conducted a search and found a head alongside which there was a bit of paper with the victim’s name and appointment on it. The victim, along with two coast guard personnel, was kidnapped on 4 May 2015 at a beach resort on Aliguay Island, Dapitan City. The victim appeared in a video posted on Facebook in June blindfolded and shirtless alongside the two coast guard personnel. Eight armed men also appeared in the video. Their faces were covered by scarves or hoods and they threatened to behead their three hostages if a ransom of P1 million (USD22,400) was not paid for each victim.
Sources, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that Rodolfo Buligao and one of the Coast Guard officers kidnapped with him were meant to have been released two weeks before the body was found. Their families had raised ransom money through contributions by “families, friends and relatives” to pay a ransom of P500,000 (USD11,200) for Rodolfo and P1 million (USD22,400) for the unnamed Coast Guard. It is understood the ransom monies had been sent through an emissary.
20 August Lieutenant General Rustico Guerrero, Western Mindanao Command chief, said in a statement that two Coast Guard officers, Rod Pagaling and Gringo Villaruz, had managed to escape from their kidnappers after the military launched an operation to storm the Abu Sayyaf camp where the hostages were being held in southern Sulu province. In addition, 15 Abu Sayyaf militants are reported to have been killed. The two Coast Guard personnel were kidnapped in May from a beach resort on Aliquay Island, Dapitan City. Army spokesman, Captain Antonio Bulao, later said that four other hostages, including two businessmen from Malaysia and South Korea, held at the same location in the jungle near Indanan town on Jolo Island had not been accounted for.
27 August Senior Superintendent Roberto Fajardo, head of the Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG), said that between January and 26 August this year, AKG had killed four kidnap for ransom criminals, arrested a further 17 and three others had surrendered. Among the 24 that had been neutralised, six were on the 10 most wanted list. He added that 14 kidnapping for ransom cases had been reported over the period compared with 39 cases over the same period in 2014.