Friday, January 19, 2018

Freed Chinese kidnap victim resting in safe location

KIDNAP victim Zhang Sijiu, 57, the Chinese Embassy’s driver who was kidnapped, then rescued hours later on Thursday, was said to be in a safe location yesterday.
Police did not want to say where he was but said he is being interviewed.
The Express contacted the Chinese Embassy in Port of Spain yesterday for an update on Zhang’s condition. An official said they continued to feel “safe” operating in Trinidad and Tobago.
“Everything has passed and the driver is safe and everything is okay now. We are not afraid,” an official at the embassy told the Express.
Earlier yesterday, the Express visited the embassy at Alexandra Street, St Clair, Port of Spain.
No one could be reached for comment.
A 31-year-old kidnap suspect from El Socorro also remained in custody at the Port of Spain CID and was assisting in the investigation, police said.
Police said he had a “string of convictions” and was also wanted for robberies, shooting with intent and sexual offences.
“I don’t think the (Chinese) community is being targeted, especially with respect to kidnapping,” said National Security Minister Edmund Dillon yesterday.
He was speaking to reporters during the launch of “Right Tunes”, a music programme for young people at Government Plaza Auditorium, Port of Spain.
He said: “This year thus far there has been one kidnapping for ransom and the next was an attempted kidnapping.”
He added: “Also, I want to compliment the law enforcement for the quick reaction and quick response to treat with the arrest of the man who allegedly attempted to kidnap the victim on Thursday. Especially since the incident played out without any serious harm to the victim and he was alive.”
“After all, we have a duty to provide certain level of security for them to ensure their stay here, and that it is based on a certain kind of environment.”
Zhang was kidnapped Thursday morning at 5.50 as he walked to work along Hayes Street, St Clair.
He was rescued by police hours after a $28,000 ransom demand was made. Investigators could not say how many people kidnapped the Chinese national.
They said that at 5.50 a.m., Zhang was heading towards the Embassy on Alexandra Street, when a stolen white Honda City car stopped near him.
Zhang was bundled into the back seat and the car sped off.
Embassy officials then received a call for a ransom demand of $28,000 and at 7.30 that morning they called the police and gave details about the vehicle used in the kidnapping.
Hours later, around 10 a.m., police intercepted the car at Damien Street near One Woodbrook Place.
Police found Zhang in the backseat of the car, unhurt.