By Al Qalam Reporter
A prominent Cape Town businessman, Zhaun Ahmed (71) and a Bangladeshi restaurant owner, Hussain Nahid of Johannesburg, were recently freed by their kidnappers who had demanded ransom money – but the fate of wealthy Pretoria businessman, Omar Carrim (76) is yet unknown.
Carrim, who suffers from chronic cardiac problems, was apparently ambushed after leaving his large business and driving to his home in Laudium. It’s over 75 days now since he was kidnapped. There were reports that a ransom demand was made, but the family is tight-lipped on the matter.
As for the release of Cape Town businessman, Zhaun Ahmed, it’s unclear whether he had paid ransom money to his captors, but insiders have suggested that he had paid millions for his release.
In the case of the Nahid – the Bangladeshi restaurant owner of Lenasia, Johannesburg – police have arrested members of a local crime syndicate.
He told police that as he closed his Zam Zam Restaurant, several men bundled him into a kombi, and drove off. They blindfolded him and drove him to a house where they demanded a ransom. He told them he had no money to give. After three weeks of captivity, they let him go.
Now Abramjee has called for urgent intervention from international law enforcement agencies to investigate this dangerous trend before it gets out of control.
“Organized crime syndicates are at work. They are dangerous. They are daring, and International law enforcement agencies must get to the bottom of this. If not, the reign of terror will continue.
According to Abramjee, a group, presumably from Cape Town, has distributed two statements also calling for urgent action.
“They claim the masterminds are well known. If they are known, why has the cops not arrested them? Abramjee asked.
The anti-crime Cape Town group said in a message: “The masterminds take our hard earned cash and buy expensive clothing and watches which they show off on Facebook.”
The group has called on communities to mobilize. They also appealed to religious leaders to assist.
Abramjee said there are even suggestions now that some of the ransom money may be going to international terror groups. “If true, this becomes even more worrying,” he added.
“Someone, somewhere, somehow knows something. It’s time to get the criminals arrested.
Police must stop the #Kidnappings now and get the criminals- the masterminds and the foot soldiers must be put behind bars”!
Abramjee pointed out that kidnapping for ransom money has been escalating in recent years – and they’ve become more daring and sophisticated.
He said kidnapping syndicates –both local and international – have been targeting their victims and fleecing them of tens of millions of rands.
He said while many of these gangs have been arrested, newer gangs crop up, targeting largely Indian, Pakistani, Chinese, Bangladeshi, Zimbabwean and Mozambican nationals living in South Africa.
“Many of the victims are forced to pay ransom locally. Other gangs demand payment in foreign countries making it difficult for law enforcement agencies to follow the trail.
Speculation is rife locally that some of these gang members from Maputo may be involved in the latest kidnappings in South Africa.
The string of kidnappings has caused much fear and panic, especially amongst South Africa’s Indian community and also foreigners living in South Africa.
Some have taken steps to beef-up their personal security and that of their families.
“The gangs are demanding millions of rands from their victims- far beyond their life-long savings,” Abramjee said.
Money laundering syndicates are also apparently working in cahoots with these kidnapping syndicates, he added.