Kidnap for ransom racket exposed

2018-10-02 15:45
"The suspect allegedly provided detailed of how the kidnappings will be executed."

"The suspect allegedly provided detailed of how the kidnappings will be executed."

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A 47-year-old foreign national appeared briefly in the local court on Monday for the conspiracy to kidnap the son of a local businessman for ransom. 

Asif Mohammed, who lives in Church Street, is alleged to have spoken to an undercover police agent on September 20 and 21 asking for help in kidnapping the 18-year-old son of a businessman. The intention was to demand R5 million ransom.

The short, plump and balding man stood in the dock impassively. He indicated through his attorney that he understands English, so an interpreter was not needed.

State prosecutor Renee Padayachee said the offence — conspiracy to commit a kidnapping — was serious and that kidnapping has become prevalent. She said the state needs to ascertain if he is in the country legally before bail can be considered.

Mohammed has been remanded in custody until October 15.

Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi of the Hawks said that more arrests were likely and that Mohammed may face additional charges. He was arrested last Friday after it transpired that he was allegedly planning to kidnap high profile business people and their children in the Pietermaritzburg area.

“Several undercover operations were conducted where the suspect allegedly gave a detailed description of his first target, the safe house where the victim would be held as well as other electronic tools to be utilised during and after the alleged kidnapping. The suspect allegedly provided detailed plans of how the kidnappings will be executed,” said Mulaudzi.

Mohammed was arrested at his business premises in Church Street by police from the Hawks and Crime Intelligence.

Meanwhile, the Pink Ladies organisation offered some tips to prevent the kidnapping and abduction of children on its Facebook page. Its founder, Nana Rechner, said children must be taught:

to run away from danger;

to yell loudly;

that their safety is more important than being polite; and

that if followed by a car, to turn around and run the other direction.

“If someone grabs them they must try to throw themselves on the floor, kick, scream, move around and fight because it is difficult to be picked up when your full weight is on the ground,” she said.

Rechner warned that children should never be allowed to go to places alone and older children should always take a friend when they go somewhere.

“Talk openly to your children about safety and encourage them to tell you or a trusted adult if anyone or anything makes them feel frightened, confused, or uncomfortable. Discuss security issues with your children so that they will understand the need for precautions.

“Advise your older children about steps they can take to help safeguard themselves. Know their friends and their families. Pay attention to your children ... If you do not, there is always someone else who will,” she said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  kidnapping

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