Avatar photo

By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

Life on the line: Bay fish shop owner’s kidnappers demand a whopping $1.4m ransom

According to the Hawks, the massive ransom demand in dollars implied that the kidnapping suspects could be foreign nationals.

The kidnapping drama which unfolded last Friday in front of a popular Gqeberha fish and chips outlet, has kicked into high gear after a ransom demand of $1.4 million (about R27 million) has been put on the table for the release of Bay businessman Neal Ah-Tow.

Hawks spokesperson Captain Yolisa Mgolodela confirmed on Tuesday morning, 5 March that the massive ransom demand was made at 5pm yesterday during negotiations with the abductors.

Foreign nationals suspected of shock kidnapping

According to the priority crime investigations unit spokesperson, the currency implied that the suspects could possibly be foreign nationals.

The well-known 58-year-old businessman was kidnapped by five armed men at about 7.15am last Friday just as he was about to open his store, Neal’s Fish and Chips, in Crichton Street, Sidwell.

It is understood the suspects forced him into a silver Chevrolet Cruz at gun-point before speeding off.

Mgolodela said when the ransom demand was made, Ah-Tow was able to request the name of his high-blood pressure medication from his daughter.

The full details of his family whom the ransom money is allegedly been demanded from, has not been released.

Call for information to net kidnappers

South African Police Service (Saps) spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu said a case of kidnapping was still under investigation and that on Monday, police still had no news of Ah-Tow’s whereabouts.

The investigating officer in the matter is Detective Warrant Officer Errol Kleinhans who can be reached on 083 243 4567

ALSO READ: Two men in dock on Pretoria east man kidnapping, murder

Sidwell scrapyard kidnapping and murder

On 3 October last year, a Sidwell scrapyard business owner was also kidnapped, and his son shot dead in Hart Road.

HeraldLIVE reported that the incident occurred in broad daylight when about six men in a white Toyota Corolla arrived at Inder’s Scrap Metal.

They accosted and fired several shots at the victim before shoving the scrapyard owner into their vehicle.

At the time, Naidu said the motive behind the attack remained unclear and that the Hawks had since taken over the case. 

ALSO READ: Vehicle found in Tenacres, kidnapped woman still missing

Extortion rumours and rise in high-profile EC kidnapping cases

According to the publication, rumours about possible extortion have surfaced.

The kidnapping took place in the wake of several high-profile abduction and ransom cases which emerged in the Eastern Cape in 2023.

NOW READ: Gqeberha businessman kidnapped outside his fishery