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Archive for the ‘RANSOMS’ Category

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Criminal past … Taiwanese businessman Shih Chia-chin had built up a fortune worth tens of millions of US dollars through illegal gambling online. This was the second known attempt to kidnap the millionaire. 

Taipei: A Taiwan businessman who reportedly accumulated a fortune worth tens of millions of US dollars through illegal gambling has been murdered by kidnappers including his chauffeur in a case that rocked the island.

Shih Chia-chin was picked up by chauffeur Hsieh Yuan-hsin upon his return to the northern airport of Taoyuan on August 18.

Three hours later the accountant of Shih’s company received a phone call from kidnappers demanding a ransom of $Tw50 million ($1.84 million).

body of Shih Chia-chin was discovered in a ditch in a remote area of the southern city of Tainan image

The body of Shih Chia-chin was discovered in a ditch in a remote area of the southern city of Tainan. 

After negotiating with the kidnappers, Shih’s family wired $Tw30 million ($1.07 million) to three designated bank accounts and alerted police, according to a statement from police in the central city of Taichung.

It said Hsieh tried to withdraw the ransom but gave up and fled after he was asked by a bank clerk to show his ID.

Prosecutors issued a warrant barring Hsieh from leaving Taiwan. But about four hours later the suspect managed to board a flight for Thailand with a fake passport, police said.

Shih’s body was found on Sunday evening in a ditch in a remote area of the southern city of Tainan.

Police said at least two other people were involved in the kidnap

Citing police sources, the United Daily News said it was suspected there could have been a mastermind behind Hsieh, who has no criminal record.

It said the ransom might not have been the main purpose of the abduction.

Local media said Shih had kept a low profile since he survived a kidnapping attempt four years ago.

Shih was sentenced to an 18-month suspended prison term after his internet gambling ring was cracked nine years ago, the News said, adding that he had built up a fortune worth billions of Taiwan dollars.




An American teenager abducted by Islamist militants in the Philippines five months ago fled barefoot through the jungle after telling his captors he was going for a bath in a stream.

Kevin Lunsmann, 14, tricked his four armed Abu Sayyaf kidnappers on Friday.

He evaded their clutches, then followed the stream down a mountain and walked for two days without shoes before he was found by villagers on the island of Basilan.

Great escape ... Kevin Lunsmann, right, a kidnapped American teenage boy, talks to Zamboanga city mayor Celso Lobregat.Great escape … Kevin Lunsmann, right, talks to Zamboanga city mayor Celso Lobregat. Photo: AP

At first he feared they might be sympathetic to his captors and fled. But after a brief chase, the villagers convinced the boy, who was exhausted, hungry and in shock, that they meant him no harm, and his ordeal was finally over late on Saturday.

“He was in fear, so there was a bit of a chase before the villagers convinced him that they were friends,” said police Senior Superintendent Edwin de Campo, adding that Kevin had bruises on his arms and feet but was otherwise fine.

Harry Thomas, the US ambassador to the Philippines, said that Kevin had talked to his family by phone and would be reunited with them shortly.

He added: “In this holiday season nothing makes me happier than knowing that an innocent victim is returned to his family in time for the holiday celebrations.”

Kevin was seized with his Filipino-American mother, Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann, 50, and a Filipino cousin, Romnick Jakaria, 19, while they were on holiday with relatives on an island near Zamboanga city on July 12.

In a carefully co-ordinated raid at 3am more than a dozen armed men stormed the resort on Tictabon Island, off Mindanao, and overpowered the guards.

Police said that Mrs Lunsmann, who grew up on Basilan and changed her name from Jerpa Usman, was visiting relatives and had intended to return with Kevin to her husband in Virginia.

Their captors took the hostages to Basilan island and called the family in the US to demand a ransom. Mrs Lunsmann was freed two months ago, but it is unclear whether a ransom was paid.

Mr Jakaria escaped last month when special forces from the Philippines army got near an Abu Sayyaf mountain redoubt.

Kidnapping for ransom has long been a problem in the impoverished southern Philippines where most of the seizures are blamed on Abu Sayyaf, which has fought a decades-long insurgency.

Troops hunting the militants had engaged one Abu Sayyaf group in a firefight near Lamitan town where Kevin was eventually found. This may have distracted his captors and allowed him the chance to escape.

But Philippines army Colonel Ricardo Visaya said he asked the boy if he had been set free, suggesting a ransom might have been paid.

The boy replied: “No, I really did it myself.”

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