ATTEMPTED KIDNAPPING IN PORT MORESBY THWARTED

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Security guard stops gang from grabbing bank executive

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, June 18, 2009) – An alert security guard thwarted an attempt by a gang to kidnap a bank executive in Port Moresby last Friday.

The bank executive ("John’’, not his real name) spoke to this newspaper yesterday.

The kidnapping, if it had been successful, could have netted the thugs an estimated K5 million [US$1.9 million]. The kidnappers were aiming to get that amount or at least all the takings of the bank that was readily available as ransom money.

"John’’, clearly in fear for his life, hesitantly said the situation was very sensitive and he did not wish to have it talked about in the paper. This was the second time such a thing had happened to his particular bank.

"I do not wish to talk about this because this is very serious and I don’t think this is the right place to discuss this . . . maybe at a later date," "John’’ said.

He admitted there was an attempt by security guards with criminals who connived, collaborated and dressed up as policemen but he would not say more about it.

According to reports from bank insiders and the police, four armed men in police uniform entered the bank last Friday at 5.30pm, just after close of business. They were allegedly assisted by the guards on hand.

The reports alleged that the gang collaborated with the bank executive’s personal bodyguard and a banker.

The reports alleged that the gang was to kidnap the bank executive, have him moved around with the criminal group on the weekend and then, come Monday, they would have demanded the executive allow them to get into the bank safe to take the K5 million.

The reports alleged that numbering six, the criminals (including the two guards) entered the building and passed the first entrance of the bank.

The reports alleged that their attempt to get through the second door, aiming for the executive’s office, failed because the other security guard saw that their actions were suspicious and pressed the security button which automatically locked all doors. The reports revealed that four of the suspects escaped while the two guards stood there, claiming to have been threatened with guns.

The reports alleged that the guards, employed by a contracted security firm, were taken to Waigani police for questioning.

The reports say the security firm involved was sent questions on Tuesday.

They responded that their investigator was still carrying out the investigations into this matter. The bank responded that they also had their investigators onto the matter already and arrests should be made by end of this week.

Our reporters were alerted of the alleged failed kidnapping on Monday but when the police were called on Tuesday afternoon police recorded the incident as the attempted robbery of a bank with guards already behind bars.

The bank executive who spoke to this newspaper is planning to leave PNG for security reasons.

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier: www.postcourier.com.pg/

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