4 men arrested for abducting Taiwanese dairy farmer

4 men arrested for abducting Taiwanese dairy farmer

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Yunlin police yesterday arrested four men for abducting a dairy farmer after the farmer refused to give the men NT$16 million when they tried blackmailing him several months ago.

According to the police, the dairy farmer surnamed Liao had received letters containing bullets and pesticide from January to March, demanding that he pay NT$16 million (S$693,500) or he would lose his life. The letters were anonymous.

Liao did not respond to the threats, and was subsequently abducted while on the way to his farm.

Two other dairy farmers reported receiving similar threats in February and March, saying that several men had asked to meet them at an intersection in Yunlin under the pretense of discussing business. They were shot at by the men, and were rushed to hospital with bullet wounds, only to receive phone calls later demanding a ransom in exchange for their lives.

The police were alerted after the shooting, and spent weeks undercover, disguised as dairy farm workers. Yesterday, the police divided into eight teams and proceeded to trace and later arrest culprits Chan Shun-hsien, 25, main accomplice Chang Hao-chi, 39, and two other men surnamed Huang and Chen.

Chan has a criminal record for robbery, with Chang's rap sheet including charges of robbery, extortion and larceny, according to police.

Suspect Lives in Same Village

The four suspects were found targeting only dairy farmers, and lived in the same village as Liao, so they were familiar with the man's habits and his family, police said.

Yesterday morning, 32 police officers were dispatched to trace the suspects through Yunlin, Chiayi and Tainan and confiscated a toy gun and a modified handgun before taking the men in for interrogation.

Chang forced Liao into his car last December when the latter refused to purchase veterinary products for his dairy cows, but he released Liao after he realised passersby were watching them.

Chang and Chan later sent bullets with a letter to the dairy farmer in February, saying that he was to pay them NT$16 million.

In the letters the police confiscated, the men threatened Liao to pay as soon as possible, or his family would be "holding a funeral during Chinese New Year."

"Last time it was the cows, next time we will be setting (your property) on fire. If you don't want anything bad to happen, then pay me NT$8 million apiece, or I will make your loss even bigger. Two can play this game," one of the notes read, referring to an incident in which the suspects had attempted to poison the farmer's cows.

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