ASIA

Afghanistan

9 January According to local government officials, at least eight workers, two de-mining workers and six drivers, from the HALO Trust de-mining organisation were kidnapped by Taliban militants near Pul-e-Alam, Logar province. The group was travelling by road when the incident occurred.

India

1 January Satya Narain Prasad, a businessman dealing in wholesale mustard oil and director of Naran Education Pvt, was released by his kidnappers along with his driver. The two men had been kidnapped on 21 September 2014 near Muzaffarpur. He said he had been held in a house near the Indo-Nepal border and the two men were released near Motipur during the early hours of 1 January. A police spokesman said that the kidnappers had contacted Prasad’s family on a number of occasions with a ransom demand and negotiations were ongoing. He added that the two men had been released as a result of police pressure after 21 gang members had been arrested. They are still looking for the gang’s leader, Pawan Bhagat. The police dismissed a rumour going round local traders that a ransom of Rs.3 crore (USD496,700) had been paid.

3 January A senior Patna police officer said that there were 11 reported cases of kidnapping for ransom in the city in 2014. There were 63 reported cases in Patna State up to October 2014 which is lower than the 70 reported cases over the same period in 2012. The state police recorded 24,340 cases of kidnapping for ransom between 1992 and 2001 and 1.995 cases between 2002 and 2012.

9 January A kidnapping gang of seven men was arrested in connection with the kidnapping of Sunil (22) in Bengaluru. On 4 January, the kidnappers stopped Sunil’s motorcycle and claimed he had damaged their car. When he got out to survey the alleged damage, they bundled him into their car and drove away. The kidnappers contacted Sunil’s father, Ashok, and demanded Rs.50 lakh (USD82,800). Ashok informed the police who told him to engage the kidnappers in conversation so they could trace the mobile telephone they were using. Ashok agreed to pay Rs.10 lakh (USD16,500) and set out to the payment location with the money in a bag. The police followed Ashok but the kidnappers fled in a vehicle when they realised the police were present. The police traced the gang from the registration number of their vehicle.

13 January Afzal (15), son of a businessman based in the Arabian Gulf, was kidnapped by three acquaintances in Bhatta Basti, Bihar, Jaipur. When he did not return home in the evening, his mother called his cell phone and was shocked when a stranger answered and demanded Rs.1 crore (USD165,600) for her son’s release. She informed the police who started an investigation that lead to the arrest of three youths. The youths confessed to the kidnapping and to having stoned the victim to death before making the ransom demand to his mother. The victim’s body was recovered from an isolated area near a park. The boy’s head had been badly smashed by blunt and heavy objects.

21 January Police rescued Sunny (8), son of Bhupender, and arrested three kidnappers. The boy had been kidnapped on 18 January while playing outside his home in Chhawla, southwest Delhi, at around 2:00pm. His father reported the incident to the police who mounted a technical surveillance operation. On 20 January, the kidnappers contacted the victim’s father and demanded a ransom of Rs.25 lakh (USD41,400). The police located the house in Jharoda Colony, southwest Delhi, where the victim was being held and arrested one of the kidnappers during a raid on the property. The other two kidnappers were arrested during a follow up operation.

Pakistan

7 January During a ceremony at the Lyari football stadium in Karachi to destroy in public weapons and other material seized during raids, Colonel Tahir Mehmood of the Rangers said that the paramilitary force had set up two cells – the Special Task Force and the Rangers Sindh Complaint Cell – through which the public could register complaints about kidnappings, extortion and other crimes. He added that since these cells have been established, 2,621 calls and 700 SMSs have been received. The calls included 116 reports of extortion incidents of which 100 have been solved. A further 34 reports of kidnapping for ransom have been registered of which 30 have been solved.

7 January The special Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Lahore passed three consecutive death sentences on Hafiz Imran for his involvement in the kidnapping of Dr. Warren Weinstein (70), an American working with USAID. Dr. Weinstein was kidnapped in Lahore on 13 August 2011. Al Qaeda claimed that he was being held by the group and Ayman al Zawahiri released a video message relating to the kidnapping.

18 January According to police sources, kidnapping cases are on the rise in Bhara Kahu and the local area. Three kidnapping cases had been reported during the previous week.

FAR EAST

Malaysia

8 January Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman, Sabah Police Commissioner, told reporters that there had been assurances from the kidnappers of Police Constable Zakiah Aleip that he was alive and well and they would not harm him unless he tried to escape. He revealed that Zakiah was supposed to have been released at the same time as the kidnapped Kunak fish farm manager, Chan Sai Chiu, on 10 December 2014. However, he was being held by another group of kidnappers and special operations by the Philippine authorities against this group had prevented the release. Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman said the Malaysian authorities would continue with negotiations once the situation allowed. Constable Zakiah was kidnapped on 12 July 2014 when eight armed men attacked Mabul Water Bungalows Resort, Pulau Mabul, where he was on duty. He is being held by the kidnappers on Jolo Island in the Philippines.

8 January Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman, Sabah Police Commissioner, announced that the curfew in force along the east coast would be extended until 25 January after intelligence showed that kidnap-for-ransom groups are looking for security loopholes along the state’s borders and are aiming to attack small police bases. He added the curfew was to ensure the safety and security of the people along the coast and tourists in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone).

22 January The five year old son of an unnamed businessman was kidnapped at 2:10am when two men broke into a house in Port Klang while he was asleep with his mother and sister. On 28 January, his mother received a SMS message on her mobile phone demanding a ransom payment of RM850,000 (USD232,900). The money was to be paid as USD100,000, AUD100,000 (USD77,250) and RM200,000 (USD54,800). The police rescued the boy from a house in Taman Subang Jaya, Port Dickson, on 31 January after an investigation had led to them locating the place where the victim was being held. Five men were arrested during the operation.

Philippines

19 January The Crime Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Director Police Chief Superintendent Benjamin B. Megalong, said 2014 had been a good year for the Philippine National Police (PNP). The PNP had dealt a serious blow against kidnap for ransom groups last year by arresting members. Those arrested included Reccinte Padillo, Mamay Aburi, Servitozar Paniza and Tyrone de la Cruz, all of whom are leaders of their respective kidnapping groups named after them. He added that 16 other kidnap for ransom groups are under surveillance of the PNP and more arrests are expected this year.

19 January Song Ki Eon, a South Korean mining engineer working for a mining company based in Cagayan de Oro City, Mindanao, was kidnapped by armed men. He was travelling to meet prospective clients in Iligan City when a man telephoned him and told him to divert to Marawi City. His escort tried to dissuade him from doing so but he insisted. Three men stopped the vehicle he was travelling in near the village of Mipaga, Saguiran. They forced the victim into another vehicle and handcuffed his escort before driving away. No group has claimed responsibility but the police and military have blamed “Pentagon” a kidnap for ransom gang responsible for a string of previous kidnapping cases in southern Mindanao.

24 January Noui Hong Sung (73), a Korean businessman, was kidnapped by gunmen at around 9:30pm from a rented residence in the village of Surabay, RT Lim town, Zamboanga Sibugay. The victim had arrived two days earlier to visit his son who has a small mining business and lives in the area. He had returned to the residence with two other Koreans after eating a meal with his son. All three men were forcibly taken but the other two managed to escape the kidnappers who are suspected to be members of a kidnap for ransom group that has links to Abu Sayyaf.

27 January The Foreign Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, said that four of its nationals had been released after being kidnapped in San Juan four days earlier. One of the victims was named as Cho (35). The kidnappers demanded 200 million won (USD185,065) for the release of the four victims. The ministry admitted that part of the ransom was delivered during the negotiations but would not say how much. The four victims were found on a road outside Manila with signs of beating but no serious injuries.

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