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Kidnap & Ransom update – March 5, 2019


1. (US, 01/03/19) Two Chinese nationals indicted in kidnapping of Chinese businessman

A federal grand jury has indicted two Chinese nationals for the abduction of California-based luxury car dealer Rouchen Liao last year. The two men are also accused of demanding a ransom from his family and possibly having killed the victim. According to the indictment, one of the accused, using an alias, met Liao several times on the pretence he would help him collect a debt from another individual. On 16 July 2018, the man set up a meeting with the victim at a mall, from where the victim was kidnapped with the aid of the other suspect. The kidnappers contacted the victim’s father in China the next day, sent him photos of the bound victim and demanded a USD 2 million ransom. They even let the father speak with the victim briefly. The ransom was reportedly never paid. The US authorities believe the victim was killed a few days after. The FBI said having evidence of the suspects doing internet searches on body disposal and having travelled to the Mojave Desert soon after. The search for the body continues, as well as investigations for the likely involvement of other individuals in the crime. FULL ARTICLE

2. (MEXICO, 02/03/19) Kidnapping of rancher aided by employee

An agricultural businessman was kidnaped on 24 February by an armed commando on 4x4s from inside his ranch located in a rural area of Cundacan, Tabasco. According to police investigations, the kidnapping was facilitated by one of the victim’s employees. The kidnappers have reportedly demanded a MXP 5 million (USD 259,000) ransom. The rancher remains missing at the time of writing. FULL ARTICLE (1)


3. (EGYPT, 03/03/19) Man kidnapped and killed by friend seeking ransom

After visiting his friend’s home and realizing that his family was well off, a man identified as Atef K, decided to kidnap his former co-worker and friend. Aided by a number of accomplices, Atef kidnapped Yassin Kasper on 27 February, from a location in Sharkia governorate, later demanding a ransom of 1 million Egyptian pounds (USD 57,000) from his family. The family reportedly paid 300,000 Egyptian pounds, although the victim had already been killed. The victim’s body was found by the Al-Marg bridge in Cairo a few hours after the payment. The kidnappers never had the intention to release him, given that he could have identified his captors. FULL ARTICLE

4. (TOGO, 05/03/19) Romanian seafarers kidnapped from product tanker off Lome

Product tanker HISTRIA IVORY with 21 all Romanian crew on board, was attacked by pirates in waters near Lome, Togo, in the evening of 3 March. Three seafarers have been confirmed abducted. The remaining crew, who had taken shelter in the ship’s citadel, escorted by the authorities took the vessel to safety in Lome Anchorage on 4 March. The Malta-flagged ship, managed by Romanian company Histria Shipmanagement, sustained damages during the attack. The incident has been confirmed by the Romanian authorities. This incident follows attacks on two tankers off Brass, Nigeria, on 27 February. FULL ARTICLE (1)

5. (NIGERIA, 05/03/19) Mother of international footballer kidnapped in southern Nigeria

The mother of Samual Kalu, a Nigerian footballer currently playing for a team in Bordeaux, France, was kidnapped in Nigeria. Ozuruonye Juliet Kalu was taken from her car while on her way home in Abia State, on 27 February. According to the player, the kidnappers initially demanded N3 million (approximately USD 8,300). Although the ransom was paid, the victim was not released, with the kidnappers instead demanding a second payment of N15 million (over USD 41,000). The case is ongoing. FULL ARTICLE (1)


6. (TAJIKISTAN, 02/03/19) ‘Kidnapped’ Tajik activist back in Europe

A prominent Tajik opposition activist, who was allegedly kidnapped in Moscow and unlawfully repatriated to Tajikistan last month, has returned to Europe. On 2 March, Sharofiddin Gadoev appeared on a live-streamed video from Germany’s Frankfurt Airport on the Facebook page of a Tajik opposition group, expressing his gratitude “to all the organizations and countries” that voiced concern over his case. Gadoev, a member of the banned ‘Group-24’ opposition movement with refugee status in the Netherlands, resurfaced in Tajikistan on 15 February, following claims that he had been abducted during a trip to Russia. Tajik authorities insisted that Gadoev had returned voluntarily, while the Dutch Foreign Ministry alter said Gadoev had been arrested in Tajikistan on suspicion of “criminal activities” linked to his past business activities. According to parties supporting Gadoev’s case, Russian security service officers forced Gadoev into a car in Moscow on 14 February, and drove him to Domodedovo Airport, where the activist was placed on a flight to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, where he would face trumped-up charges for his activism. There were no immediate comments from Tajik officials about Gadoev’s return to Europe. FULL ARTICLE