Mon, 08 Nov 1999

Business dispute leads to alleged kidnapping: Police

JAKARTA (JP): City police arrested on Thursday a South Korean national and an Indonesian accomplice for allegedly kidnapping a South Korean in front of the South Korean Embassy over a business dispute, a police official said.

"Police arrested Yun Won Hee, 56, and his accomplice Dominicus Rasta Perangin-angin, 40, for kidnapping Baek Jong Hoon, 18," city police detectives chief Col. Alex Bambang Riatmodjo said on Friday.

Yun is a property business partner of Baek's father in South Korea, while Perangin-angin is an acquaintance of Yun's compatriot.

Alex said police were able to resolve the case in a matter of hours because the victim's father, Baek Bbo Ki, 44, promptly reported his missing son to the police. "Yun was mad because Baek senior couldn't pay his debt back," he said.

"Baek senior failed in his property business in South Korea and asked me for a loan. But he didn't paid (anything) in two years," said Yun.

"I went to Jakarta in October to find Baek senior."

Alex said Yun did not obtain a satisfactory answer from Baek senior and planned the kidnapping with Perangin-angin, promising him half of the ransom.

Baek was kidnapped last Thursday outside the South Korean Embassy on Jl. Gatot Subroto, South Jakarta, after submitting his passport and other documents to the mission in relation to studies in Australia.

"The victim was accompanied by his uncle, Kim Jhae Hyun, 40, and schoolmate Anita, 18, when suddenly a Kijang minivan approached them," Alex said.

"Yun and Dominicus dragged Baek with force inside the minivan and then left for Hotel Imperial in Karawaci, west of Jakarta."

Alex said that Kim, who recognized Yun as Baek senior's business partner, promptly called the victim's family.

Meanwhile, Yun contacted the victim's family and requested a Rp 100 million (US$15,00O) ransom. The kidnappers said they would release Baek from the Imperial Hotel if the ransom was paid.

The victim's father promised to pay his debt next year. However, Alex said Yun rejected the offer and insisted on immediate payment.

Concerned for their son's safety, the family finally agreed to the kidnappers' demands. However, they could only manage to raise $7,000 and so reported the matter to police.

Alex said police detectives asked the family to pretend they had the money and would deliver it at 8 p.m. to the hotel. Several undercover officers took up positions in the hotel before they raided room 717.

"It was likely both suspects didn't expect that police would raid them. They surrendered immediately and the victim was safe," said Alex.

Fire extinguisher

In an unrelated case, City police arrested last Tuesday a South Korean national and an Indonesian for stealing fire extinguishers in Taman Rasuna Apartment, South Jakarta.

"Police arrested Beam Soo Hwang, 20, and Mikail Syamsir, 20, for stealing fire extinguishers," Alex said.

Alex said Beam, who lives in the apartment block, was caught in the act of stealing a fire extinguisher by apartment security officers.

"The apartment's security officers, Ramelan and Tri H, received a report at 8 a.m. that several fire extinguishers were missing," he said.

Alex said Ramelan spotted Beam, who is visiting Indonesia during his university holidays, loitering at 4:30 p.m. in the corridors with a black guitar case. He said Ramelan became suspicious after Beam appeared to panic when he was unable to satisfactorily explain his behavior.

After Ramelan forced Beam to open the guitar case, revealing the fire extinguisher, Beam admitted that he had stolen the items.

"I stole fire extinguishers ten times and sold them to an unknown trader at Pasar Rumput flea market in South Jakarta for Rp 80,000 (US$12) each," said Beam.

"I used the money to buy heroin."

Beam said he was helped by Mikail, an Indonesian student who lives in a separate apartment in the Taman Rasuna block.

"Based on Beam's confession, police then arrested Mikail in his room," Alex said.

"I once joined Beam in stealing a fire extinguisher and sold it for Rp 70,000 at the Pasar Rumput flea market," said Mikail.

"I also used the money to buy heroin," he said, adding that he had stolen fire extinguishers on two occasions by himself. (05)