Kidnappers under cover of carrier

The gang would wait patiently with their car in a crowded place in Dhaka or adjacent areas. He offered people to drop them off at their destination for a fee. And it worked.

Failing to find public transport, many office workers, the main targets, would agree. Once in the car for their daily journey, they would realize the misfortune awaiting them.

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The union took them to a relatively isolated place, threatened them and tortured them for money. The gang members would then call the victim’s family and demand a ransom through mobile financial services.

Until the family sent the money, the syndicate continued the torture while taking the victims to different areas.

The Detective Branch of Police (DB) revealed all this yesterday after arresting five gang members including the ringleader.

Those arrested are Md Hiru Mollah and Jakir Hossain, drivers by profession; Md Nijam Uddin, day labourer; Nazrul Islam, a trader; and Abdul Barek, the point guard.

The DB’s Cybercrime and Special Crimes Division arrested the five after conducting a special campaign in Dhaka and Narsingdi on Monday, said Harun-ur-Rashid, Joint Commissioner (North) of the DB.

Police seized two toy guns, two knives, a machete, an iron bar, pliers and six phones in their possession.

Harun said the syndicate would pretend to be a car rental trader. They even picked people up at gunpoint.

He said those arrested mostly admitted to kidnapping and ransoming around 500 people so far.

The Daily Star, however, was unable to independently verify the police claim.

When asked how one person or a union could abduct so many people, the co-commissioner said it happened because the majority of victims did not turn themselves in to the police and did not bring complaint.

“We tracked down the syndicate and arrested the five, after a victim recently filed complaints with Jatrabari police station,” he said.

Analyzing the documents, police said the arrested Barek was wanted in at least six cases and each of the others was wanted in two cases.

Junaed Alam Sharker, the division’s additional deputy commissioner, said Barek had been active in the criminal world for eight to 10 years. Each time he was caught, he got bail and got involved in criminal activities again.

One of the abduction victims was present at the DMP media center on the capital’s Minto Road yesterday.

Speaking to reporters, Rustom Khan (68) said on January 25 this year that he was standing near Badsha Mia Road in Jatrabari around 8:20 a.m. when the area was a bit foggy. As he waited for his company bus, two people put him into a private car at gunpoint.

The gang members then started beating him severely and demanded a ransom of Tk 5 lakh. During this period, they almost strangled him to death three times, he said.

The criminals tortured him until 4:30 p.m. and only released him after his wife sent 50,000 Tk twice through a mobile financial service, Rustom added.

They eventually dropped the victim off at a secluded location in Munshiganj.

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