ASIA

Afghanistan

22 February Father Alexis Prem Kumar, an Indian Jesuit priest, was freed after being held for eight months. He was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen in the western province of Herat last June. On 25 February, Father Kumar said during an interview with CNN that no ransom was paid for his release.

India

2 February Iqbal Rafique (45), an English teacher in the higher secondary section of the Tura Christian Girls School, was kidnapped at around 6:30am from outside his house in Mankachar along the Assam-Meghalaya border. Between 2:00pm and 4:00pm, his family received a call from the kidnappers confirming the kidnapping and demanding Rs.5 crore (USD827,800) for his release. The victim’s father tried to reason with the caller, who spoke fluent Bengali, but he refused to reduce the demand and imposed a 2 day deadline for payment.

3 February Om Prakash Paswan, a branch manager, Ranjeet Kumar, an accountant, and Ramanad Singh, a class IV employee, all employed by Canara Bank’s Rajla branch, were kidnapped in Jamui district, Bihar. Singh was released sometime after the kidnapping and made his way home. A police spokesman said that the families had reported the kidnapping after the family of the branch manager had received a call demanding a ransom payment of Rs.55 lakh (USD91,000) for the release of the two victims. The men were intercepted while returning home on their motorcycles at around 8:00pm by armed men also on motorcycles. The police are trying to establish whether criminals or Maoist militants are responsible.

16 February Khamtari police said they had arrested three people on suspicion of being involved in the kidnapping of the 6 year old son of Sunil Sharma in Bhanpuri on 6 February. The kidnappers called the victim’s father and demanded Rs.1 crore (USD165,600) for his son’s release. Mysteriously, they released the victim after three hours. The police were monitoring the telephone calls from the kidnappers to the boy’s father.

19 February Mukesh Kumar Pathek, a Class 8 student, was rescued by police from the jungles of Paton-Manatu. The victim was kidnapped at gunpoint from his house at around 9:00pm on 12 February. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of Rs.20 lakh (USD33,100) for his release. An uncle said that the family had paid Rs.1.15 lakh (USD2,000) on 16 February and were in the process of paying a further Rs.35,000 (USD580) when the police arrested one of the gang at the payment location who gave them the location of the hideout and the names of other gang members.

21 February The police in Uttar Pradesh arrested two men in connection with the kidnapping of their friend, a first year student at a private college in Jaipur. The incident happened on 19 February. The kidnappers called the victim’s father in Qatar where he works and demanded Rs. 5 lakh (USD8,300) for his son’s release. They stipulated a time of 10:00am on 21 February for the money to be deposited in a bank account. The boy’s uncle alerted the police. When the kidnappers became aware the police were involved, they released their victim. The police believe they were planning to kill the boy once the money had been paid.

Pakistan

3 February Armed militants kidnapped five irrigation department employees, including a sub-engineer, from a dam construction site near Shadi Core area of Mekran in Baluchistan. They were released by their kidnappers, members of the banned Baloch Republican Army, after being held for four days. A contractor said that the kidnappers had demanded that the company stopped work on the dam which they had done after the kidnapping.

16 February During a search operation by the Balochistan Levies to locate a polio vaccination team that had been kidnapped on 13 February, two extremists were killed. Two polio workers escorted by two constables from the Balochistan Levies were allegedly kidnapped by the Taliban while travelling in an ambulance between Barkwal and Murghab Kibzai of Zhob district. The security forces have found the ambulance but not the members of the team.

FAR EAST

Malaysia

7 February The Serious Crimes Division of the Kuala Lumpur Police Contingent arrested four men in connection with the kidnapping of a 39 year old Indian national in Sentul on 31 January. The victim was kidnapped from in front of a religious school by three of the suspects. They were travelling in a car that intercepted the van in which the victim was travelling with five other passengers. They claimed to be members from the Central Bureau of Investigation and pulled him at pistol point from the van, forced him into their vehicle and sped away. Later the same day, the kidnappers contacted the victim’s employer and demanded RM100,000 (USD31,000) for his release. This was later reduced to RM36,000 (USD11,160). The employer left the money at a location stipulated by the kidnappers.

12 February The police rescued a 41 year old furniture store owner who had been kidnapped on 10 February. He was kidnapped by a group of armed men who were waiting in a car as he left his house in Bandar Baru Air Atam, Penang, at around 5:10pm. Family members received several telephone calls from someone demanding money. After a police investigation, the police rescued the victim from a cheap hotel in Bukit Tambun, arrested a teenage boy who led them to five other men. The suspects are aged between 18 and 26 years. The Penang CID chief said the kidnapping was a result of the victim failing to pay a debt.

13 February Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Home Minister, warned that there was a threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISI) trying to raise funds by kidnapping wealthy Malaysians and staging bank robberies in the country. Based on intelligence reports, ISIS has already developed plots and the ministry is trying to track down and investigate suspicious movements by the group and their sympathisers in the country. To date, about 59 Malaysians are officially known to have joined ISIS.

18 February Police arrested six suspects in the kidnapping and killing of the 60 year old woman, Sardani Balveer Kaur, Managing Director of a security company. The mastermind behind the kidnapping was the victim’s driver who was among those arrested in raids in the Klang Valley, Penang and Perak. The victim went missing when she left for a business meeting in Bandar Sunway, Petaling Jaya, on 13 February. Her family received a call hours later from an unknown man demanding a ransom of RM2 million (USD620,350) for her release. It is understood the kidnappers killed her and dumped her body out to sea after she discovered her driver had hatched the kidnapping. Her body was washed onto the shore of Sungai Udang beach on 15 February.

Philippines

4 February Song Ki Eon, a Korean mining executive, was released by his kidnappers and was found wandering by villagers in Barangay Pawak, a village of Saguiaran, after 11:00pm.. He had been kidnapped 15 days earlier in Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur. The victim was supposed to meet prospective mining business partners in Iligan City on 19 January but, after a mobile telephone conversation, decided to go to Marawi City against the advice of his police bodyguard who said the city was a dangerous area for foreigners. After meeting three men who he seemed to know, he was forced to abandon his car and get into their vehicle while the bodyguard was handcuffed and left in the victim’s vehicle. The local police chief said he did not know if a ransom had been paid or even if there had been a ransom demand.

17 February Senior Superintendent Angelito Casimiro, Zamboanga City Police Director, said that, based on intelligence reports, terrorists will conduct kidnappings and bombing atrocities in the region, including the city. The Principal of the Labuan National High School, Henry Ongchua, disclosed that he is one of the targets of kidnapping for ransom groups in the area and has asked the Department of Education to transfer him to another school within the city proper.

17 February A 14 year old boy who was kidnapped along with his mother in Tarlac, Abra province, on 28 December 2014, was rescued by the PNP in San Juan, Abra. The boy’s mother had been released on 9 February so she could raise ransom money for the release of her son. An informant tipped off the police about the presence of suspicious persons and the PNP mounted a rescue operation. Three suspected kidnappers were killed during an exchange of fire.

21 February According to statistics released by the Philippine National Police (PNP), the number of reported kidnapping for ransom cases reduced slightly in 2014 when compared to 2013. Since the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) was established in 2013, the number of annual cases recorded shows 26 in 2012, 52 in 2013 and 48 in 2014. During 2014, 32 kidnap for ransom suspects were arrested and one was killed when police tried to serve a warrant for his arrest.

23 February Teresita Ang See, founding president of the Kaisa Para sa Kaunlaran Inc., said that kidnapping incidents involving Filipino Chinese had reduced considerably. She said that previously there were about two or three kidnapping incidents a week bit it had now reduced to two or three a month adding that in some months there are none.

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