KULAI - A housewife, who was snatched from her home in front of her children, has been reunited with her family after almost a month being held hostage in Indonesia.
The kidnappers, aided by the woman's maid, are believed to have demanded a ransom of S$3mil (RM9.5mil).
The woman was kidnapped on Feb 21 and taken to Batam where she was held captive at a farm. On the evening of March 19 - a day after her birthday - she was brought home unharmed.
Yesterday, police arrested a 39-year-old Indonesian man who is believed to be responsible for coordinating the kidnapping.
Earlier, police arrested 12 Malaysians who had been remanded for seven days in Johor Baru while Indonesian police arrested six of their nationals in Batam.
The mastermind was arrested in a taxi, heading north at the Yong Peng South toll plaza, at around 5.30pm. He was possibly trying to escape after news of the kidnap was reported.
A semi-automatic pistol was found thrust in his pants waistband with three bullets, and a few more in his pocket. Twenty-three more bullets were found in a plastic bag.
Johor Criminal Investigation Department (CID) chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Kamarulzaman Mamat said the man was the 19th suspect arrested in relation to the case.
"We believe that the suspect was the one who took the woman to Batam on a boat via an illegal route, off Pengerang waters," SAC Kamarulzaman told reporters at the Yong Peng police station.
The victim, in her 30s, was snatched from her home in Bandar Putra Kulai at about 3.30am. She is believed to be from a well-to-do family.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the kidnappers waited about two weeks before contacting the family for ransom.
He declined to confirm the actual amount paid, merely saying "it was a huge sum".