Hostage-taking scheme foiled

Man escapes captors; police make quick arrests

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In what’s believed to be a
first-of-its-kind case in the Cayman Islands, a young man was abducted for
ransom last week.

Royal Cayman Islands Police said
Tuesday that the man managed to escape his captors and that investigators later
arrested two suspects connected to the abduction.  

The young man was abducted on
Thursday, 18 March, according to police. He managed to escape his captors late
Friday afternoon, just hours before RCIPS officers were set to move in and
arrest the men.

The kidnap victim suffered some
injuries to his arms, legs and face and was taken to George Town hospital for
treatment. He has since recovered and has been reunited with his family.

The abductors allegedly phoned the
young man’s mother on 18 March and threatened to kill him if his family did not
pay a substantial ransom. Police said the woman was allowed to speak with
her son during that phone call and that the caller demanded “hundreds of
thousands of dollars” for her son’s safe release.

Two Honduran men believed to have
been involved in the hostage-taking were nabbed at the Owen Roberts Airport on Grand
Cayman within the past few days – one on Saturday and another on Tuesday
morning – attempting to leave the country. 

The identities of the two suspects,
one aged 36 and the other aged 28 were not immediately released because they
had not yet been charged with a crime. Both are foreign workers who reside here
in the Islands.

RCIPS Commissioner David Baines
said the two men did not personally know their victim, but knew enough about
his family to believe they might be able to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars
in ransom money. 

“It was a well-planned and
orchestrated offence,” Mr. Baines said Tuesday. “The victim was not
targeted at random.” 

This case is believed to be the
first abduction for ransom incident to have ever occurred in the Cayman
Islands. 

“None of us can recall any
incidents of hostage taking in the Cayman Islands,” Mr. Baines said,
adding that such incidents were more common in other jurisdictions around the
Caribbean. 

Mr. Baines said the abduction
incident was first reported to police the same day it occurred, despite threats
from the suspects that they would kill the young man if his family went to
police.

A team was immediately put in place
to investigate the matter – led by Deputy Commissioner Stephen Brougham. RCIPS
Detective Superintendent Marlon Bodden was dispatched to help the family deal
with the crisis and advise them on how to speak with the abductors.

“Within in a very short period of
time, the team was able to gather significant information…about the location of
the hostage and the individuals involved,” Mr. Baines said.

Pictures of the two suspects were
quickly circulated to both local and international law enforcement agencies.

Mr. Baines did not state how the
young man managed to get away from his captors on Friday, or how police
pinpointed the suspects’ location on Grand Cayman.

Officers from the Jamaica
Constabulary Force and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation assisted Mr.
Brougham – who has extensive experience handling abduction for ransom cases.

“By any standard, this was a
professional operation,” Mr. Baines said of the six-day long ordeal.

Mr. Baines said the investigation
into the abduction was still active and that police were looking into whether
any more suspects may have been involved.

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