Middle East

Syrian son fakes own kidnapping to receive ransom from father

A young Syrian man faked his kidnapping, in an effort to scam his father by demanding a ransom of 30 million Syrian pounds ($57,395) to secure his release.

According to a statement by the Syrian Ministry of Interior, “A citizen reported to the Criminal Security Branch in Lattakia that his son, Mahmoud, born in 2000, had been kidnapped by unknown people, and messages were received from an unknown number claiming to be the kidnappers asking for a ransom of thirty million Syrian pounds in exchange for his release.”

The statement said that authorities set up an ambush for the supposed kidnappers in coordination with the son’s family, revealing that “the Criminal Security Branch in Lattakia was able to lure the kidnapper and arrest him, and it turned out that the son was present to receive the ransom amount and staged everything.”

The son then “confessed that he had fabricated the fictitious kidnapping incident with the intention of obtaining the ransom amount.” According to the statement by the Interior Ministry, the reason for the faked abduction “is due to family disputes with his father”.

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It also revealed the young man’s method of carrying out part of the plan: “before the incident, he borrowed a motorcycle from his neighbour and sold it to a bike repair shop in exchange for a mobile device and a small amount of money, and then sold the mobile device to a telecom store to cover the hotel reservation expenses [for his accommodation outside the family home]”.

The reported case of the fake incident comes three months after an eight-year-old boy was kidnapped in southern Syria on his way to school, and was beaten by his captors in footage which demanded $150,000 from his family to secure his release. A week later, the boy was released and returned after his family paid $110,000.

In both regime-held territories and areas controlled by opposition militias in Syria, kidnappings and abductions are a common practice, which result in numerous disappearances every year due to lawlessness and the presence of armed groups. Bashar Al-Assad’s regime itself often takes part in the practice, being responsible for the vast majority of enforced disappearances.

READ: Syria regime continues extortion of money for detainees’ release, despite Assad amnesty

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