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Nigerian email scam leads to real-life kidnap

January 14, 2012 4:22pm
What started as an email scam turned into a real-life nightmare for a South Korean man and his daughter, who were lured to Africa and kidnapped.
 
The two, lured on the promise of tens of millions of dollars in a lottery scheme, were eventually rescued by South African police, according to a report on UK-based The Guardian.
 
South African police who raided the property in Soweto also arrested six suspected kidnappers, five Nigerians and a South African, the report said.
 
The Guardian did not name the two victims but described the South Korean man as 65 years old, and his daughter as in her 30s.
 
A “419 scam” is a confidence-based trick that derives its name from Section 419 of the Nigerian criminal code for obtaining property through fraud.
 
According to The Guardian report, the South Korean and his daughter fell for the fraudulent email claiming they could win millions in a lottery scheme if they went to South Africa.
 
Upon arrival, the two were taken hostage in a township for four days by the mainly Nigerian gang, which demanded a ransom of $10 million.
 
Investigation showed the two victims landed at OR Tambo international airport in Johannesburg last week.
 
“The suspects allegedly tasked a driver to fetch the victims from OR Tambo airport. The driver and the two Korean nationals were kidnapped and kept at a house in Meadowlands, Soweto,” Col. McIntosh Polela of the South African police service (Saps) said.
 
He added the driver managed to escape and alert the police. The suspects demanded a $10-million ransom from the 65-year-old man’s wife in South Korea, to be deposited into an account in Singapore. The amount was eventually negotiated down to $120,000.
 
“While the negotiations were ongoing, the wife alerted the South Korean embassy in South Africa. Members of the Saps rescued the captives, before the ransom money was deposited,” Polela said.
 
Six suspects, five Nigerians and a South African, were arrested during the early-morning rescue and charged with kidnapping. The South Koreans, “tearful but grateful,” left the country without waiting to give evidence in court, The Guardian reported.
 
“They declined to testify because they were traumatized,” Polela added. “They were also embarrassed at being lured to South Africa. This is common once victims discover they’ve been fooled.” — TJD, GMA News
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