Tue, 05 Aug 2003

Suffering high fever, abducted boy to be freed

Multa Fidrus, The Jakarta Post, Tangerang

As the medical condition of a kidnapped eight-year-old boy from Tangerang continues to deteriorate, his abductors have indicated they are willing to release him.

The kidnappers, allegedly holding the boy because of outstanding debts owed by the father to 150 people, called the victim's parents on Monday to inquire about medication used by the child.

"I will keep my commitment to release your boy. I can no longer treat your son as his fever remains high," one of the kidnappers told the parents.

The abductors vowed to keep chasing the father.

Also on Monday, the parents deposited Rp 10 million into a BCA bank account belonging to Sayogo Hendro Suroto, one of the alleged kidnappers, adding to the Rp 10 million deposited on Saturday. The kidnappers, who have demanded Rp 4 billion, promised to release the boy in Cengkareng, Tangerang.

However, the child had not been released as of Monday evening and the kidnappers mobile phone had been switched off.

Police said on Monday that they surrounded an area in North Jakarta where it was believed the kidnappers were hiding.

"We are now surrounding the place. We hope soon to catch the kidnappers," a police source told The Jakarta Post.

The names of the boy and their parents have not been published for security reason.

The boy's father earlier admitted that his company owed debts of Rp 40 billion to 150 creditors.

The father has admitted to receiving threats from people claiming to be acting for those owed money.

Two unidentified men grabbed the boy from his school while he was playing with his friends, fleeing in a blue Kijang van.

Police say the kidnappings have nothing with the child abductions in Jakarta, Bogor and Cianjur in West Java, which are believed to be the work of a sadistic gang led by two brothers.

The brothers, identified as Jefri Saputra, 25, and Deni Saputra, 21, have abducted at least six children. They brutally raped and murdered two of the victims despite the parents paying the ransom. Two other children are missing.

They reportedly called the parents of a 23-month-old kidnapped girl to taunt them about her death.

Deni was reportedly arrested in Surabaya last week but Jefri is still at large.

Many observers have criticized the police investigation in comparison to other cases, such as the murder of a businessman and his bodyguard.

The investigation of the assassination of PT Asaba's president Boedyharto Angsono and bodyguard First Sgt. Eddy Siyet, from the Army's Special Forces (Kopassus), on July 19, has received the attention of a number of police, including their elite state security unit.