2 arrested in rare case of kidnapping in Singapore

SINGAPORE — Police today (Jan 9) arrested two Singaporean Chinese men, aged 41 and 50, in a rare kidnapping case in Singapore.

The police were notified of the case at around 2pm yesterday when Mr Lim Hock Chee reported that an unknown person had demanded S$20 million for the return of his 79-year-old mother, who was last seen in the vicinity of Hougang yesterday morning.

The victim was abducted from the roadside and was alone at the time.

Mr Lim, 52, is the CEO of supermarket chain Sheng Siong.

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Officers from the Criminal Investigation Department and Police Intelligence Department immediately investigated conducted inquires to establish the whereabouts of the victim and to track down possible suspects.

Meanwhile, the ransom amount was negotiated down to S$2 million. Under instructions from the kidnappers, Mr Lim placed a bag containing S$2 million in cash at Sembawang Park, near a tree at a pavilion at carpark two, close to midnight yesterday.

The victim was released at a bus stop near Seletar West Camp early this morning.

Police subsequently arrested the two suspects separately in the vicinity of Hougang and Ang Mo Kio at about 1am. The S$2 million ransom left at Sembawang Park was also recovered.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Hoong Wee Teck said: “Time is of the essence to solve kidnapping cases. In this particular case, and the few that were solved several years ago, we are grateful that the families of victims remained calm and composed, alerted the police without delay, and cooperated fully with us so that investigations could be conducted and swift action taken from the onset.”

In a statement, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean commended the police officers for the swift arrest of the two suspects. "The family of the victim had done the right thing by lodging a Police report immediately," he said. "The family also gave the Police their full cooperation. Kidnapping is a very rare and serious offence and the perpetrators will be dealt with to the full extent of the law.”

Kidnapping cases are rare in Singapore, with only three substantial kidnapping with ransom cases over the last 10 years. The offence carries a penalty of death, or life imprisonment with caning. The two suspects will be charged in court tomorrow.

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