Four behind bars for kidnappings

The suspects were arrested in a joint police operation in Margate, Hibberdene and Umzumbe.

Four men were arrested after they had demanded over R1m in ransom for the release of two kidnapped Bangladeshi shop owners, in separate cases, in Margate and Hibberdene.

The four, aged between 22 and 53, were arrested last week during a joint operation by Hawks members from Port Shepstone Serious Organised Crime Investigation, Crime Intelligence, Special Task Force, and an Ugu District hostage negotiator.

KZN Hawks spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Simphiwe Mhlongo, said a 36-year-old Bangladeshi man had been kidnapped on April 26 while on his way to his shop in Margate.

Mhlongo said the kidnappers contacted the man’s relative and demanded a ransom of R800 000.

He said a case of kidnapping was reported at the Margate police station and that the case docket was allocated to the Hawks.

“During the course of the investigation and negotiations, a ransom of R115 000 was paid on May 1, and the victim was released the next day.

After that incident, on May 18, a 24-year-old Bangladeshi man was kidnapped in Hibberdene. “The kidnappers called his employer and demanded a ransom of R500 000.” said Mhlongo.

He added that a case of kidnapping had been reported at Hibberdene police station.

“The case docket was again allocated to the Hawks, and last Wednesday, a joint operation was conducted and a ransom of R100 000 paid to the kidnappers. Soon after that, three men were arrested near a private hospital, and R94 000 was recovered, he added.

The suspects led the police to a farm in Umzumbe, where one more suspect was arrested, and the victim was rescued. He was taken to hospital for medical attention.

Mhlongo said preliminary investigations had revealed a positive link between the two incidents, and that they would be charged in connection with both cases of kidnapping, as well as extortion.

The men appeared in the Umzumbe Magistrate’s Court recently.


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