Kidnapped businessman returns home

2016-12-13 06:01

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A Bangladeshi business owner from Lotus River survived a harrowing experience last week when he was kidnapped outside his store.

Mustapha Goolam’s nightmare started on Sunday evening last week just after he locked his store in Klip Road, Lotus River.

Grassy Park police spokesperson Warrant Officer Wynita Kleinsmith says: “[Police] responded to a complaint of a kidnapping at Food Town Superette, on the corner of 5th Avenue and Zeekoe Road. Officers were informed that a 35-year-old Bangladesh had been taken by force by two men who attacked him and forced him into their car,” Kleinsmith says.

The car was described as a gold Toyota Corolla.

“A crime intelligence operation held [on Tuesday evening] led to the successful location of the businessman at a house in Kuyasa, Khayelitsha. Three suspects – two Pakistani nationals aged 27 and 29 and a local woman aged 28 – were arrested,” Kleinsmith says.

Hanif Loonat, chairperson of the Mitchell’s Plain community police forum cluster, says they are working closely with police after a spate of kidnappings of foreign business owners.

“There have been many kidnappings lately and unfortunately the majority of them are not returned home safely. It is unlikely that after the victims are kidnapped they are released from captivity because the suspects are afraid of being identified,” Loonat says.

“We have found that it is local people doing the dirty work for foreigners. They kidnap the people and hand them over to the foreigners who call these jobs,” he says.

Asked whether a ransom was paid for the safe return of Goolam, Loonat says no ransom was paid.

“We obviously do not want to divulge too much of how Goolam was returned home safely and unscathed but we made use of technology to have him returned to his family,” he says.

Loonat says he fears that the kidnapping trend will eventually spread to locals as so far only foreign business owners have been targeted. He urges business owners to be extra vigilant during the festive period.

“We urge them to change their routines when shopping for their stores. They should also not go unaccompanied,” he says.

Loonat confirms that provincial police have tasked five officers to deal specifically with these crimes, which has resulted in successful arrests so far.

“Together with this team, we have already made four arrests with the most recent one being on Sunday. We are confident more arrests will be made,” he says.

Loonat says no further news has been received about Nurshaad Khan, who was kidnapped from his Lansdowne business nearly a month ago.

Anyone with information on crime can call the police on 021 700 3940 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111. All information will be treated as highly confidential.

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