ASIA

Afghanistan

21 November At a Pentagon Briefing in Washington, USA, Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, told reporters that no ransom was offered or paid for the release of Army Sergeant Bowe Berghdal (28) who was kidnapped by the Taliban in June 2009 and released in May 2014. He refused to neither confirm nor deny that money was transferred through an informant who claimed to know where the victim was being held. He said: “I am not aware that any money changed hands” but acknowledged that the US military occasionally pays informants.

Bangladesh

29 November The body of Golam Rabbi, a BBA first year student at the Institute of Science and Technology, was recovered from a pond in Pabna Santhia. The victim was kidnapped on 19 November from Kalyanpur by four men. The kidnappers contacted the victim’s father using text messages and telephone calls demanding a ransom payment of Tk10 lakh (USD13,000). The police have arrested three men and are looking for the fourth member of the gang.

India

8 November Ashok, a sweet shop owner, was released after being kidnapped on 2 November from Rahmapur, Aurangabad, Uttar Pradesh, while returning home after shutting his shop. The kidnappers contacted the victim’s family and demanded a ransom of Rs. 80 lakhs (USD132,450) for his release. After monitoring calls from the kidnappers, the police arrested the mastermind, a nephew of the victim, and five other people, including a woman.

10 November Maheswar Reddy (50), owner of PMR that was working as a sub contractor for the infrastructure company, IL&FS Limited on National Highway 54, was kidnapped by six armed militants while on his way to work in Dima Hasao district, Assam. The kidnappers are suspected of being members of Dimasa. The victim’s wife said that no demands for his release had been received.

17 November The Mizoram State Home Department in answer to a question in an assembly session, said that 31 people in nine separate incidents have been kidnapped in Mizoram over the past four years and up to ten alleged kidnappers have been arrested. All but two of the incidents were at gunpoint. Apart from two incidents near the state’s north western border with Assam, all other incidents took place in the border area with Tripura and Bangladesh. Those arrested have been members of the Bru Democratic Front of Mizoram (BDFM), the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) and the United Democratic Liberation Front of Barak Valley (UDLFBV).

18 November Vinay Kumar, aka “Chotu”, escaped from his police escort while being taken from Noida to court in Meerut to appear on a charge of being involved in the kidnapping of industrialist Kapil Gupta. The accused snatched a revolver off one of the police escorts and fled. Kapil Gupta was kidnapped at around 7:45pm on 21 September after dropping an employee at Delhi’s Ashram area. The following day his wife received a call from the kidnappers with a ransom demand of Rs.5 crore (USD828,000).

19 November An assailant armed with an AK-47 rifle tried to kidnap K Nithyananda Reddy, Director and Vice-Chairman of the Hyderabad based Aurobinda Pharma. The incident happened at around 7:30am when Reddy got into his car in the KBR park, Jubilee Hills, after his customary morning walk. The assailant barged his way into his car and ordered Reddy to start the car and said he was kidnapping him for ransom. Reddy pushed the rifle away from his chest which went off and three bullets went through the windscreen before the assailant fled.

20 November The police reported that Utkarsh Verma (13), the youngest son of a Delhi jeweller, was kidnapped at around 2:30pm on 18 November while returning home from school in Gandhi Nagar, east Delhi. Two ransom demands for Rs. 1 crore (USD165,560) were received by the family at 7:30pm and 8:45pm the same evening. In the second call the kidnappers informed the family they would call again the following morning and tell them where to leave the ransom money. On the morning of 19 November, a passerby spotted the boy’s body near a drain about 1.5kms from the family residence. On 25 November, the police arrested Pratap Singh Sisodiya (22), a friend of the victim’s family, and Siddarth Sharma (24) in connection with the kidnapping and murder.

26 November Sankar Bhattacherjee, an hotelier and overseas placement consultant, was rescued from Nizamabad, Telangana, after he had been kidnapped from the Lake Mall area 18 days earlier. The victim had been moved by his kidnappers to Siwa, Varanasi, Andhra Pradesh and, finally, Talangana. The victim called his family and passed on the ransom demand of Rs. 25 lakh (USD41,400). The family paid around Rs. 4 lakh (USD6,625). The police relied on social networking tools such as True caller, WhatsApp and Facebook to trace the calls from the victim. The police located the house of one of the kidnappers and rescued the victim. Three suspects were arrested.

29 November Harshit (17), the son of Girish Tayal, an assistant engineer with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) was kidnapped as he left his house in Basant Vihar, Dehradun, at about 7:30 in the evening. The kidnappers contacted his father and demanded a ransom of Rs.5 crore (USD827,800), the largest known ransom demand in the state, for his release. The victim was released 48 hours later. His father stated that the kidnappers had reduced their ransom demand to Rs. 2 crore (USD331,125) before instructing the family to throw Rs.34 lakh (USD56,300) from a moving train near Motichur on the Dehradun to Hardwar railway line. The police waited until the victim was released and then moved in against the gang. They arrested five people and recovered the Rs. 34 lakhs ransom payment.

Pakistan

2 November A statement released by the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) said that in a joint operation mounted by the CPLC and Karachi police, Muhammad Hammad (32) had been rescued from his kidnappers. The victim had been kidnapped in Landhi on 28 October while returning home from work. The kidnappers contacted the victim’s family and demanded Rs.5 million (USD50,000) in ransom. The family tried to negotiate under the instructions of the police and eventually agreed to pay the ransom demanded. The police mounted an operation at the scene of the payment, arrested some of the kidnappers and rescued the victim.

29 November The police arrested a woman and two men who were suspected in being involved in the kidnappings of at least two bank managers in Karachi. They were also suspected of planning to kidnap a further nine bank managers. The woman, Sabira Talib, rang the bank managers asking them to meet her at a named location where her two male accomplices were waiting. The first case was on 19 September when an Operational Manager of Meezan Bank was kidnapped and released after the payment of a ransom of Rs.0.9 million (USD9,000). In the other case a Sindh Bank manager was kidnapped in Bahadurabad and paid Rs.0.6 million (USD6,000) for his release. At a press conference, the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) reported that overall kidnapping cases in Karachi were down 50% in recent months. At present, there are four victims being held by their kidnappers.

FAR EAST

Malaysia

4 November Chin Pek Nyuen, wife of Chan Sai Chiun, a fish farm manager who was kidnapped from Kampung Sapang, Sabah, in June this year, complained to newsmen that the government were doing nothing to help obtain the release of her husband. She added she is not being told anything and when she makes an appointment to meet with a member of the government they fail to show up. She said time is running out as the kidnappers have set a November deadline for her to raise the RM3 million (USD930,500) ransom demand and she has only been able to raise RM100,000 (USD31,000). On 13 November, an Opposition Member of Parliament, Imrut Abdul Hamid, urged the government to take positive action to resolve the cases of both Chan Sai Chiun and Police Constable Zakiah Aleip (kidnapped on 13 July 2014). He said: “They can spend billions for so many other things, can’t they spare RM6 million to save two lives?”. The kidnappers have set a deadline of 30 November for the ransom to be paid or they will kill Chan.

5 November Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman, Sabah Police Commissioner, said that two Filipinos shot dead on 30 October were members of a kidnap for ransom group linked to the Royal Sulu Force. They were killed in a shoot out at the Penampang New Township, Sabah.

15 November A police intelligence officer speaking under an agreement of anonymity, said that a Frenchman who was in Sabah on vacation, had been kidnapped. It is believed that Abu Sayyaf militants were responsible and had taken the victim to one of the islands in the Tawi-Tawi Group. On 16 November the Malaysian and Filipino authorities denied reports of the kidnapping. Datu Abdul Rashid Harun, Head of Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom), said there were no reports of any kidnappings in eastern Sabah and claimed that the cross border kidnappers were trying to provoke the security forces.

25 November It was reported in the newspapers that Yau Sau Har (55) of Paekan Razaki, Ipoh, hoped to recover the ransom money she paid for the release of her son on 19 September. On that day she received a call from a Mr. Koh who demanded RM60,000 (USD18,600) for the release of her son, Lai Yin Hoe (32). She said she could hear the voice of her son in the background asking to be released. She told the caller she only had RM35,159 (USD10,900) and he instructed her to deposit the money into a bank account under the name of Mr. Koh. Later she discovered her son was at work and the “kidnappers” had kept his mobile telephone engaged. After depositing the money, she finally made contact with her son.

Philippines

5 November The al Qaeda linked terrorist group, Abu Sayyaf, posted a short video on social media showing members with a large amount of Filipino money that they said was the ransom paid for the release of two German hostages, Stefan Okonek (71) and his partner, Henrike Dielen (55), in October. Abu Rami, a spokesman for the group, said the money on display in a jungle setting was the full 250 million pesos (USD5.7 million) demanded for the release of the two Germans.

6 November Li Pei Zhei (18), a Chinese businessman, was released by his kidnappers in Alicia town, Zamboanga Sibugay, according to a report from the police anti-kidnapping group (AKG). He was kidnapped on 11 September when gunmen forced their way into the family general merchandise store in Kabasalan town, Zamboanga Sibugay. Although the group responsible have not been positively identified, the police believe they were members of Abu Sayyaf. The authorities would not say if a ransom had been paid but unofficial sources disclosed “money changed hands for the freedom of the victim”. Abu Sayyaf is believed to be holding up to 10 other hostages including two European bird watchers who were kidnapped in February 2012.

22 November Senior Superintendent Rene Asperas, Chief of Staff of the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Anti-Kidnapping Group, said that the PNP were mounting operations to capture members of eight notorious kidnapping groups believed to be behind a series of kidnappings in the country targeting mostly wealthy and prominent Chinese and Filipino businessmen. He added that there were 43 reported kidnapping cases from January to November this year of which 24 were solved, 65 suspects arrested and one kidnapping suspect killed. Of the 43 cases, 21 occurred in Luzon, 22 in Mindanao where 90% of the cases were linked to Abu Sayyaf, and not a single case was recorded in Visayas. The PNP had arrested 66 leaders of kidnapping gangs including Tyron de la Cruz who was captured in Albuquerque, Bohol, shortly after escaping from jail, Reccinte Padillo and Martin Lico. Dela Cruz heads the Dela Cruz kidnap for ransom group that is allegedly responsible for at least six kidnappings in Metro Manila and Region 4. Senior Superintendent Aspera went on to warn members of the public that kidnapping gangs are obtaining information about potential victims from Facebook and other social networks such as Instagram and Twitter. He urged people to avoid posting photos or status messages showing a lavish lifestyle, wealth and material possessions.

22 November The commander of the Joint Task Group Sulu said that Siahata Muallom Asmad, aka “Sihata Layip”, “Ka Tatang” and “Tatang”, was killed during a brief fire fight when the security forces tried to arrest him in Barangay Duyan Kaha, Parang town. A soldier was also killed. The dead man was an Abu Sayyaf sub-leader who was alleged to have been involved in the kidnapping of two Germans, Stefan Viktor Okonek and Henrike Dielen, from their yacht in April 2014. They were released on 17 October after, what Abu Sayyaf claimed, was the payment of a ransom of P250 million (USD5,750,000) although the military deny this claim.

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