Taiwan police rescue kidnapped teen, arrest suspects at ransom drop

TAIPEI - A 14-year-old student who was abducted in the central city of Taichung on Wednesday afternoon has been rescued by police and his kidnappers arrested while they attempted to collect the ransom, police said yesterday.

The victim, surnamed Lin, was found safe and apparently unharmed and has returned to his family, police said.

The two suspects, a 21-year-old surnamed Liu and his 16-year-old brother, were arrested at the scene and are being interrogated by prosecutors, police said.

According to police, Lin was abducted on Taichung's Changping Street on Wednesday after he finished school and was heading home. The two suspects dragged Lin into their vehicle and went into hiding.

After abducting the victim, the two suspects telephoned Lin's family at around 7 p.m. to demand ransom.

They were originally asking for NT$2 million (S$84,720), however, Lin's parents later managed to persuade the kidnappers to limit their demands to NT$200,000, citing poor financial circumstances, police said.

The two sides agreed to meet in a small alley around Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium at 2:30 p.m. yesterday to exchange Lin for the ransom.

Lin's father reported the case to Taichung police who promptly formed an investigative committee to probe the kidnapping case.

Police were waiting at the scene when Lin's parents handed over the NT$200,000 ransom demand to the Liu brothers who had arrived at the scene by car.

One of the suspects came out of the car to receive the ransom before he released Lin.

After the victim was released, police immediately arrested the two kidnappers.

Suspect and Victim are Schoolmates

According to police, initial investigations showed that the younger Liu attended the same junior high school as the victim.

He had overheard that Lin has frequently been a target of bullying and that many of his peers borrow money from him.

Liu and his older brother therefore chose Lin as their target, police said.

Police stated that the Liu brothers are both debt-stricken. The older Liu has been losing money from unsuccessfully running a cold drink shop. He reportedly owes a great deal of money to loan sharks. The younger Liu has been unable to keep up payments for his motorcycle.