A Vietnamese businessman and his interpreter were saved by Chinese police last week after a Chinese ring kidnapped them to demand a ransom of more than US$300,000 from the first man’s family last month.
The victims are Nguyen The A., a 39-year-old farm produce trader in Hanoi, and Vu Dinh C., 27, his interpreter who also lives in the Vietnamese capital. Chinese police rescued the two and returned them to Vietnam on March 12 following their crackdown on a kidnapping gang that included the arrest of 16 suspects early this month. A. and C. arrived in the Chinese city of Nanning on February 17 to meet their business partners, according to police documents. The two Vietnamese were then invited to dinner by two people, a man and a woman, in a large restaurant. After the dinner, the hosts invited their Vietnamese guests to a tea shop to discuss their business affairs. As soon as they arrived at the tea shop, a group of more than 10 people rushed in and beat both A. and C. The attackers later detained the two Vietnamese in an area in Nanning. On February 18 evening, one of the kidnappers phoned A.’s family in Vietnam, demanding a ransom of 1.5 million yuan for the release of A. and his interpreter, or they would be in danger. After A.’s family said they needed more time to prepare for the payment, the caller increased the ransom to 2 million yuan ($323,000) and asked the victim’s family to credit the money to an account at a branch of the Chinese Agricultural Bank in Guangzhou. On February 27, A.’s family transferred 600,000 yuan to the account and promised to pay the remaining amount soon. However, the kidnappers did not contact A.’s family again after receiving the bank transfer. The family therefore reported to the Social Crime Investigation Police Department under the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security. The department then informed their Chinese counterpart of the kidnapping, asking for their help. Then Chinese police announced on March 5 that they had swooped on the kidnapping ring, arresting 16 suspects, and releasing A. and C. in Nanning. Vietnamese police said they have asked their Chinese colleagues for further information on the recovery of the money A.’s family had paid to the kidnappers.