Rs. 50 m. ransom: Army major arrested

By Chris Kamalendran

An Army Major and two accomplices were arrested yesterday for allegedly kidnapping a wealthy gold merchant and demanding a ransom of Rs. 50 million for his release. The same businessmen had been kidnapped earlier allegedly by the same group and was released after he paid Rs. 20 million as ransom, a senior police officer said.

He said the group had kidnapped the merchant from Kotahena on Wednesday while he was driving his son to school. The gang had released the child and later asked the businessman to inform his family by telephone of the ransom demand.

He said the businessman had told his abductors it was not possible to raise such a large amount of money without his presence at his business place. He had therefore sought his release with a promise that the money would be delivered the next day.

The abductors decided to release the hostage after threatening him with death if he spoke to the police or any others. The businessman later called from a leading Colombo private hospital, telling the men to come there to collect the money.

Colombo Crime Division Officers dressed in civvies ambushed the Major when he was returning after having collected the money from the businessman at an upper floor of the hospital. The two accomplices waiting for the Major on the ground floor near the lift were also arrested.

Police said they were searching for two more accomplices who were waiting in a vehicle outside the hospital.

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