Ramadan: Kidnappers on ‘shopping spree’ with ransom money !

Md Esaraf Hossain

21 April, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Kidnappers, sometimes posing as law enforcers and brandishing guns, are on the prowl to collect funds which many say was apparently their Eid shopping, are making residents of capital Dhaka and its outskirts jittery when they venture out of their homes or offices.

Security officials told the Daily Sun that organised gangs of criminals, mostly kidnappers, were on the prowl as Dhaka residents have already started to shop in preparation for the Ramadan and the holy Eid-al-Fitr to collect ransom money possibly for their own festival shopping.

According to the detective sources, about 10 to 12 such groups are operating in the capital and its outskirts and using false identities of law enforcers to abduct people for ransom.

Auto-rickshaws and slow-moving three-wheelers rickshaws passengers are the favourite targets of these gangsters, sources said.  Their favourite spots people draw money from  ATM booths, police said.

Recently, police detectives arrested 11 men posing as members of the Detective Branch along with three vehicles used for committing crimes, guns, bullets and handcuffs from the capital’s Sabujbagh area.

On Wednesday night, the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested five members of a kidnapping syndicate and rescued a victim from their prey at Amin Bazar in Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka.

Additional SP Mizanur Rahman, also senior assistant director of the RAB (media) said that the kidnapping syndicate picked up the victim, Raihan, into their private car from the capital’s Kalabagan area on April 12.

They took him to Aminbazar area and kept him confined him in an under-construction building and tortured him inhumanly as they sought Taka 10 lakh from his family as ransom.

They also threatened to kill Raihan if his family failed to accept their demand. At one stage the victim’s family agreed to pay them taka five lakh in exchange for his release.

Accordingly, the kidnappers were paid Taka one lakh as they dilly-dallied in paying the rest of the money to find a way to free Raihan.

In the meantime, RAB-4, which was contacted by the victim’s family, tracked the under construction building by tracking the mobile phone the kidnappers were using to contact the victim’s family.

Then the RAB men detained the five members of the kidnapping gang and seized a car.

Last month, locals foiled an attempt to abduct a pedestrian in Dhaka’s Moghbazar area. A group of kidnappers came in a microbus and tried to forcibly pick-up the man who was carrying a bag.

When the victim shouted for help, locals rushed to the spot and rescued him, police and eyewitness said. Seeing the locals coming to the spot, the gang members fled leaving their microbus behind, he added.

Confirming the incident, Maruf Hossain Sordar, deputy commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (Ramna Zone), said “Police seized the vehicle.” “Items like walkie-talkie, hand-cuffs and some papers were seized from the vehicle” the DC said.

“We are investigating the incident,” he added

As the armed gangsters are posing themselves as detective police and appear to be real ones, innocent people are usually falling prey to these gangs and losing their belongings. 

To make their mission a success, the gangsters do not hesitate to injure or kill their victims.  The recovered items are three foreign-made pistols, two locally-made guns, five bullets, three magazines, five police uniforms with DB and DMP written on them, one walkie-talkie, five handcuffs and a bag.

Deputy commissioner (DC) of the DMP’s media Masudur Rahman said,   during interrogation, the arrestees confessed that they posing themselves as detective policemen had long been committing robbery, abduction for ransom, snatching and extortion in different parts of the capital.