ASIA

India

12 December Manav Malhotra, a class 12 student at a private school in Gurgaon and son of a businessman, was kidnapped from his residential area during the afternoon. A woman witnessed the abduction and noted down the number of the vehicle used by the kidnappers which she gave to the police. The victim was taken to a village about 10kms from Gurgaon and the kidnappers contacted his family with a ransom demand of Rs.5 crore (USD828,000). When the kidnappers realised the following day that the police were chasing them, they drove the victim back to Gurgaon and released him. The police have arrested a man and two school mates of the victim.

22 December Gaurav (8) was rescued by police after being kidnapped on 23 November in Ghaziabad. Seven people, including the boy’s uncle and aunt, were arrested. The boy’s father had received a note with a ransom demand of Rs.7.80 lakhs (USD13,000). The note was addressed to the boy’s grandfather. According to police, the boy’s uncle had hatched the plan to kidnap Gaurav after a property dispute with his brother and father.

29 December The number of kidnapping cases in Hyderabad increased from 130 in 2013 to 356 reported cases in 2014. There were 93 reported kidnapping cases in 2012. Senior police officials said that the large increase is due to the registration of missing children as kidnaps. Experts disputed the police claims.

29 December A six year old boy was kidnapped between 6:00pm and 8:00pm while playing outside his father’s construction office in Malvani, Mumbai. Later that night the boy’s father received a telephone call with a ransom demand of Rs. 50 lakh (USD82,800). The police, acting on information from a witness, raided a hut in Goregaon slum and rescued the boy less than 12 hours after the kidnapping. A 20 year old youth was arrested and subsequently admitted to the crime. He worked for the boy’s father.

Pakistan

14 December The Sindh Police has started gathering details of kidnappers and cases of kidnappings that will be compiled in a “yellow book”. Details of criminals involved in kidnappings over the past 20 years will be included. The information is being taken from FIRs (incident reports), court records, witness statements and police files. Officials of the Sindh Citizens-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) said that there have been around 100 kidnappings registered in 2014 as compared to 184 cases in 2013.

31 December Police statistics showed that 117 people were kidnapped for ransom in Karachi in 2014. Of those, 104 were rescued and eight killed. In addition, 81 kidnappers were arrested and 20 killed. Five kidnap victims are still being held. In 2013, there were only 79 reported cases of kidnapping for ransom.

FAR EAST

Australia

5 December The government is considering changing tax disclosure laws after complaints by private business owners that they could be kidnapped and held for ransom when people realise how wealthy they are from published tax information. The previous Labour government passed tax transparency laws under which the Tax Commissioner, Chris Jordan, would, from July 2015, begin publishing tax details about 16000 public and private companies with Australian dollars 1000 million (USD120 million) or more annual turnover.

15 December Heavily armed police officers stormed the Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Sydney after gunman, Man Haron Monis, had held as many as 17 people hostage for 16 hours in the cafe. Two of the hostages, a 38 year old woman and mother of three children, and the 34 year old Lindt Cafe manager, along with the gunman were shot dead. The cafe manager had been shot by the gunman as he tried to wrestle the gun out of his hand. Four other hostages were wounded in the rescue operation. According to Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, Monis had a long history of violent crime, infatuation with extremism and mental instability. He added that the attack was politically motivated and the gunman had sought to cloak his actions with the symbolism of the (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) death cult.

Malaysia

2 December Police dug up a body in Bidok, Perak that is believed to be the remains of a 30 year old Indo Myanmar citizen who was kidnapped from his coffee shop in Pusat Bandar Sentul Utara on 12 November. Four men, two with pistols and two with parangs who entered his coffee shop at around 6:00pm, slashed him with a parang and then took him away. The incident happened in front of his Malaysian wife, 5 year old son and six customers. Soon after the kidnapping, the victim’s wife was contacted by a man who ordered her to transfer RM million (USD620,350) into a bank account in Bangkok, Thailand, for her husband’s release. Following police investigations, a 41 year old man was arrested who eventually provided information to the police about the location where the victim’s body was buried.

3 December An unnamed owner (52) of a gold factory was kidnapped as he arrived at the factory in Lorong Nagasari at 9:30am by seven men in two cars. He was moved to a house in Berapit from where he was rescued by police ten hours later. The kidnapping was witnessed by a former factory employee who informed the victim’s brother. The kidnappers contacted the victim’s brother and demanded RM8 million (USD2.5 million) for his release. Two men aged 56 and 70, former business partners of the victim, were arrested. The police are hunting for a further seven members of the gang.

6 December Sabah State Police Commissioner, Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman, said that the police were 95% certain that they had captured Nikson Muktadir, one of the key leaders of the cross border kidnap for ransom group. He added that the police had arrested a man who was among eight adults and children on a boat off Pulau Bohayan, Semporna, on 30 November. They are still trying to confirm the man’s true identity. Nikson Muktadir was involved in the attack on Mabul Island on 12 July when Marine Police Corporal Rajah Jamuan (32) was killed and Constable Zakiah Aleip (26) was kidnapped. The Police Commissioner also announced the extension of the dusk to dawn curfew along Sabah’s east coast until 24 December. Resort owners on the east coast want the curfew to continue and said that business has already fallen 50% to 70%.

8 December An unnamed businessman in his 40s and owner of several motorcycle shops in the Klang Valley, was released by his kidnappers after being kidnapped by two men on 2 December as he arrived at his shop in Selayang. The kidnappers are believed to have followed his car from his home to the shop. The kidnappers contacted his family with an initial ransom demand of RM3 million (USD930,500) but subsequently reduced it to RM2 million (USD620,350) which the family paid on 7 December. The victim was released the following day.

8 December While addressing a parade, the commander of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom), Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun, said that five kidnapping attempts had been foiled by Esscom since the restructuring on 15 July this year. He added there have been no successful kidnapping cases over this period.

9 December Reports suggest that negotiations to free Marine Police Constable Zakiah Aleip have resulted in an argument between Abu Sayyaf leader Al Habsi Misaya and the negotiators led by Marmi Sangkula, a former Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) commander, over the amount of ransom paid to Al Habsi. Instead of the agreed 40 million pesos (USD920,000) for “board and lodging”, only 15 million pesos (USD344,800) was paid. Ali Habsi and his gunmen captured Sangkula and other negotiators and issued a five day ultimatum for the delivery of the missing 25 million (USD574,700). Sangkula’s men from a neighbouring area wanted to attack the Abu Sayyaf group but were dissuaded by a senior MNLF leader, Tahir. The negotiating team were released. Negotiations were said to be continuing.

10 December A military spokeswoman said that Chan Sai Chuin (32), a fish breeder, had been released after being held for 177 days by al Qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf militants. He was kidnapped from his fish farm in Sapong Kunak on 16 June. Filipino and Malaysian mediators secured his release and brought him back by speedboat from Indanan Town, Sulu, the Philippines, to Sandakan in Sabah, Malaysia. The spokeswoman stated that the military had played no part in negotiations and no ransom had been paid. The kidnappers had initially demanded a ransom of RM2.34 million (USD725,800). A later news report quoting Philippines sources in Jolo Island claimed that the negotiators had delivered a ransom of RM780,000 (USD242,000) to the Abu Sayyaf faction controlled by the Sawadjan brothers and led by Al Habsi Misaya.

21 December Chan Sai Chuin (32) spoke to reporters about his experiences while in the hands of Abu Sayyaf militants. He said he had lost 20kgs in weight during his captivity although he was treated well and had priority at mealtimes. He added the first two weeks were pretty frightening as the Philippines army closed in on the kidnappers and he could hear the sound of gunfire. He was given a lot of freedom during the first two months to walk around but said he could not escape as he did not know where he was and he was on an island. During the last four months they chained his leg with a long chain. Communication with the kidnappers was in broken Malay which he had difficulty understanding. He never got to know their real names but they called each other such names as James Bond, Tom Cruise and other interesting names. Although he spoke by telephone to his wife on a number of occasions, he was never aware the kidnappers had threatened to behead him if the ransom was not paid. He added he will be returning to work at the fish farm in Kunak, Sabah, from where he was kidnapped.

Philippines

6 December Government forces attacked a camp of al Qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf militants on the island of Basilan, Mindanao. Three militants were killed and eight wounded during the action. One of those killed was identified as Abdullah Kalifot who was a henchman of Abu Sayyaf leader Nurhasan Jamiri who operates in Basilan.

6 December Lorenzo Vinciguerra (49), a Swiss birdwatcher, escaped from his kidnappers on the southern island of Jolo after being held for more than two years. He took advantage of the confusion caused by a government bombardment of an Abu Sayyaf camp near the village of Kulambu to snatch a machete from and kill one of his guards before fleeing. He suffered several non life threatening wounds during the struggle. He had been on a bird watching expedition with fellow naturalists Evold Hold (54), a Dutch national, and Ivan Sarenas a Filipino, when they were kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf in Panglima Sugala, Tawi-Tawi, in February 2012. Sarenas managed to escape by jumping off the boat that was transporting the victims to Sulu. Evold Horn is still being held and is reported to have been too frail to escape. A spokesman for the Armed Forces said that five militants were killed and eight wounded during the action.

31 December Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO) distributed anti-kidnapping flyers to businesses and individuals in the city. A spokesman said that the flyers are intended to raise the public’s awareness of kidnapping incidents. On 24 December, businesswoman Michelle Panes, who was kidnapped on 18 August in Barangay Labuan, Zamboanga City, was released by Abu Sayyaf rebels at Barangay Bilan, Talipao, Sulu.

Thailand

23 December The police carried out an operation to rescue three Nepalese students of ABAC College of Assumption University. The three victims had been kidnapped on 19 December by a group said to be their friends and taken to a villa in the Moohan area of Bangkok. Although the victims’ families in Nepal have refused to make any comment, a source said that the kidnappers had contacted the families and demanded a ransom of NPR. 1 crore (USD98,500) for each of the students. It was claimed that no ransom was paid. Two of the nine kidnappers, a Pakistani and a Thai national of Pakistani origin, were arrested during the police operation. With the help of details of telephone calls and other information provided by the Nepal Police, Thai Police in Bangkok arrested four more alleged kidnappers on 29 December. Two of those arrested are from India and one from Bangladesh.

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