ASIA

Afghanistan

10 July Members of a Halo Trust de-mining team were ambushed by gunmen in the Kohsan district of Herat province, while travelling to a mine removal site. Six people were killed and three others abducted. The Halo Trust Afghanistan team employs more than 3,000 local workers and two resident international staff members.

16 July According to local officials, four aid workers of a US based non-governmental organisation involved in educational projects, were kidnapped in Gozara district, Herat province by unidentified gunmen. The aid workers were returning from Pashtun Zarghoon district when they were abducted.

India

3 July National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) statistics show a sharp rise the kidnapping incidents in the city of Aurangabad. There were 25 reported incidents in 2012 and this rose to 49 reported incidents in 2013.

5 July According to official statistics, 98 people have been kidnapped for ransom during the six months to 30 June 2014 including government employees, businessmen, teachers, small traders, women and children, in the insurgency ravaged Garo Hills region of Meghalaya. This equates to one person every second day. The highest monthly figure was recorded in May when 26 people were kidnapped. An intelligence official said that most of the abductions were for economic gain.

5 July Bangalore rural police arrested nine men, including the victim’s driver, in connection with the kidnapping for ransom of HR Anasuya, a widow. She was kidnapped on 28 June and released the following day after her realtor son, Rama Reddy, had paid a ransom of Rs.1 crore (USD165,600) in cash and Rs.30 lakh (USD50,000) worth of gold. The kidnappers had initially demanded Rs.10 crore (USD1.66 million).She was kidnapped while being driven to visit her son at around 11.30am. Her car was stopped and two men kidnapped her at knifepoint and drove away leaving her driver behind.

24 July A 14 year old boy, Ajay, was kidnapped on 16 July in Farrukhabad district, New Delhi. The kidnappers contacted his parents and demanded that they exchange their daughter for their son. Police officials suspect the girl’s jilted lover is involved. The boy has yet to be released.

30 July In response to a written question, Kiren Rijiju, the Minister of State for Home, told the Rajya Sabha that, according to available statistics, there were 44,664 reported kidnap and abduction cases in the country in 2011, 47,592 cases in 2012 and 65,461 cases in 2013, giving a total of 157,717 cases over the three years.

Pakistan

1 July Director General Rangers (DG Rangers), Major General Rizwan Akhtar, has formed a special task force to fight the rise in extortion and kidnapping cases in Karachi. A spokesman said the task force had been set up on the demand of traders and the public. The Chairman and members of Voice of Karachi Industrialists (VOKI) welcomed the initiative.

5 July On the directive of the Lahore High Court, six policemen involved in kidnapping two people and receiving Rs.30 lakhs (USD30,000) in ransom, were arrested. Two other policemen managed to escape being arrested.

11 July Newspaper reports state that many senior doctors have recently left Karachi after receiving extortion demands and threats to kidnap them and their children. A very senior medical officer said he had faced such threats as the extortion mafia had increased their activities. He added that most of the doctors who had been approached had discreetly paid the extortion demand without reporting the incident.

12 July According to a newspaper report, short term kidnapping for ransom and extortion have drastically escalated in Karachi. The situation has reached a level of utter helplessness that representatives of the traders now gather a sum of money to give to the extortionists to prevent them attacking traders. According to figures for 2014, there were 75 extortions recorded in January, 82 in February, 93 in March, 84 in April, 78 in May, 61 in June and 13 to date in July. Traders’ Associations in the Old City Area pay RS.100,000 (USD1,000) to the extortionists each month.

16 July According to reports, Taliban militants in Pakistan have conducted an unprecedented wave of kidnappings in North Waziristan near the Afghanistan border. Businessmen say extortion increased five-fold before the military offensive starter on 15 June. Militant related kidnappings also increased in Karachi. An officer from the Federal Investigation Agency said that the splintering of the Pakistani Taliban, formerly known as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, has resulted in the increase in kidnapping.

FAR EAST

Thailand

16 July Police arrested four debt collectors for kidnapping a couple, Thanasit Treepollaset (44) and Waranya Rachanon (40), and demanding a ransom of five million baht (USD16,000) to cover an initial repayment of a total of 30 million baht (USD96,000) which they alleged the husband owed to their employer. The kidnappers forced the couple into a vehicle while they were waiting in a parking lot at Doi Saket district hospital on 10 July. The kidnappers blindfolded the couple before taking them to a hotel in San Sai district where they were assaulted and held captive until 15 July.

Malaysia

5 July According to media reports, Hong Kong citizen, Kee Kwok Edien (63), owner of Wonderful Terrace Fish Farm in Sabah, was killed in a car crash along with two of his employees. Kee was said to be carrying HK$1 million (USD129,000) in ransom money for the release of his employee, Yang Zai Lin (34), a Chinese national, who was kidnapped by suspected Filipino rebels on 6 May. A police spokesman denied the amount being carried by Kee was HK$1 million but confirmed he was carrying money without revealing the exact amount. He added the money had been returned to Kee’s family. Kee, who ran several aqua-culture businesses in Hong Kong, was believed to have been contacted by representatives of the Filipino kidnappers based in an Abu Sayyaf stronghold on Jolo Island, southern Philippines, to negotiate the victim’s release.

7 July Security forces instructed fish farm owners and managers in Semporna to move “temporarily” to the mainland following a failed attempted kidnapping near Kampung Bangau-Bangau, Sabah. A search operation was mounted by the security forces under the command of the Sabah Eastern Security Command (Esscom) for seven armed men, suspected to be Filipinos, who arrived at the Ah Chai Fish Farm just after midnight searching for the owners, a Kelantanese Chinese couple. When they could not find the owners, they robbed the farm and fled.

10 July Yang Zai Lin (34) was released by his kidnappers after being kidnapped from the Wonderful Terrace Fish Farm near Lahad Datu, eastern Sabah, on 6 May. Federal police chief, Khalid Abu Bakar, made the announcement but declined to provide any details of the circumstances of the victim’s release. It is believed the victim was being held by Abu Sayyaf militants in the southern Philippines.

13 July A security official reported that a policeman was killed and another, Constable Zakiah Aleip (26), kidnapped after heavily armed gunmen fired on a Malaysian diving resort off Borneo Island. The attackers are believed to have come “from a neighbouring country”. On 14 July it was reported that Constable Aleip had contacted his wife to say that he was safe but in the hands of his captors at an unknown location. Filipino intelligence sources identified a sub-commander of Abu Sayyaf, Alhabsi Misaya (in his 30s), a rising leader in the organisation, as being the person holding the victim. Alhabsi is one of the gunmen responsible for the beheading of seven factory workers in Jolo, southern Philippines, in 2007, who had been kidnapped when owner of the plywood factory where they worked refused to pay extortion money. A 14 minute video clip recorded by Alhabsi shows a group of gunmen leading the hostages to different locations in the jungle where the brutal act is carried out. Alhabsi can be heard reciting Quranic verses and also heard giggling and chanting “Allahuakbar” (God is great).

On 17 July, Malaysian Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, said that the authorities had received a phone call from the kidnappers asking “10 million”” for the release of Constable Aleip but failed to state whether the currency was Philippine pesos, USD or Malaysian ringgit. He added the government would not entertain any ransom demand.

24 July A police lance corporal, Muhammad al Mubarak Zulfkifli (26), and his unemployed friend, Rizal Affandi Shafiee (35), were charged with kidnapping Datuk Goh Soo Wee (33) and demanding a ransom of RM790,000 (USD245,000). Three others were previously charged with the same offence. The victim was kidnapped at Salak Selatan, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, during the evening on 26 June. The suspects face the death sentence or life imprisonment if convicted, and are also liable to be flogged if they escape the death sentence.

Philippines

19 July The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) police confirmed that Japanese citizen, Yasuhiro Nakamura (44), who works with the Asian Benefits Corps., had been freed on 13 July. He was found walking alone in Guindulungan town. The victim was kidnapped on 25 April by an unidentified group. The circumstances of his release were not divulged.

25 July Three Abu Sayyaf militants and two members of the security forces were killed when troops attacked a hideout on southern Basilan island. The troops were targeting Abu Sayyaf sub-commander, Sulaiman Ajanti, who was allegedly responsible for a number of incidents in Basilan and Zamboanga City including the kidnapping of US citizen Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann and her then 14 year old son in 2011. Gerfa was released after 2 ½ months and her son escaped after 5 months. Ajanti and two of his followers were killed and five other members of the gang injured.

28 July A police official said that Remigio Linggayan was released by Abu Sayyaf militants near Barangay Bunot, Indanan, Sulu, after the payment of a ransom of 500,000 pesos (USD11,500). The family raised 200,000 pesos (USD4,600) and his employer contributed 300,000 pesos (USD6,900). The victim had been kidnapped on 5 June along with his colleague and brother in law, Joselito Gonzales, who, according to Linggayan, was killed when the security forces shelled an Abu Sayyaf camp. Linggayan also reported seeing five foreigners – two Germans thought to be Henrike Dielen and Victor Okonek who were kidnapped off Palawan in April – two Chinese – Dina Tan and her daughter Yahong who were abducted in Basilan in May – and an unidentified Malaysian.

28 July A 58 year old Korean businessman only identified by the name Bae, was killed while resisting a kidnapping attempt in Manila. The kidnappers hit the taxi in which Bae and his wife were travelling downtown in the morning. The kidnappers dragged him out of the car but he hit his head in the subsequent struggle. They kidnapped his wife for whom they demanded a ransom of USD11,500 but released her when they heard Bae had died.

31 July In a joint operation, government security forces arrested Said Giad, alias “Maestro”, at around 5:00am at Sampao, Isulan, Sultan Kudarat. Giad is wanted for a number of kidnapping incidents in Cotabato City including that of five engineers working for the Philippine National Oil Company and Wendell Wee.

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