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Fake designer… kidnappings?

24 July 2008

The Korean kidnapping case, which had the usual suspects all whining about Mexican abductions, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  I’d been speculating that it might have to do with these particular Koreans (not the favorite foreigners of Mexico) being used car dealers (despised everywhere, regardless of race, color, creed, gender, gender orientation or national origin).  Even the Koreans are dubious.  From the English-language editon of Dong-a Ilbo

The five Koreans who were kidnapped last Monday were held in a residential area in Reynosa and were allowed to make outside calls.

Park was able to call his sister in Korea as well as the Korean embassy in Mexico several times, all in Korean, which the kidnappers allowed even though they don’t understand the language.

A ministry source said, “The abductors restricted the calls when conversations got longer.” However, doubts remain given that the hostages could have easily passed on information about their location.

In fact, the phone contact between the Korean government and the hostages came when a Korean Consular phoned the cellular phone number owned by Park, which was informed by Park’s sister.

This type of situation is rare since in most cases kidnappers call using a telephone booth and unilaterally disconnect the call.

A Korean Mexican lawyer who served as a mediator between the Korean government and the abductors also talked with them on several occasions on the phone Wednesday.

The kidnappers reportedly asked for a low ransom, only 30,000 dollars, which raised doubts over their motives for the kidnap. The demanded amount of money, equivalent to about 6 million won per each hostage, is a tenth of the ransoms demanded in most kidnapping cases in Mexico.

It is hardly understood why the kidnappers released the Korean hostages in the middle of the city and phoned the police to inform them of the release and their location.

○ The real motive of the incident?

Some foreign media outlets reported that the Mexican local authority believes the incident is related to a bungled people-smuggle into the United States.

Tamaulipas state police in charge of the investigation said in an interview with Reuters, “Although the Koreans apparently sought to illegally enter the United States through the kidnappers, the abductors seemingly changed their minds to benefit from the larger ransoms.”

A ministry official also stated, “A host of factors indicate that this isn’t a simple kidnapping case … in particular, we don’t rule out the possibility of acquaintance between the kidnappers and the Korean hostages.”

Add to skepticism the statement from the Tamaulipas Attorney General’s office concluding that the Koreans were just your typical “Other Than Mexicans” looking for a way into the United States (a la the Cubans supposedly kidnapped last month) and it looks less and less like a kidnapping and more and more like the movers were holding the goods until they received payment.

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