Gang kidnaps Chinese businessman, demands $120k ransom

Harare Bureau

ELEVEN people, including two foreigners and a church bishop from Harare, have been arrested for allegedly kidnapping a Chinese businessman before demanding a US$120 000 ransom for his release, police confirmed yesterday.

The suspects were tracked down by the police soon after a friend of the businessman, approached to help raise the ransom, contacted the Criminal Investigations Department in the capital.

The Chinese man was kidnapped on Wednesday at a Chinese restaurant in Belgravia by the suspects, who also included two Chinese men.

After the kidnapping, the gang allegedly took the businessman to Mandara suburb where they ordered him to contact his relatives and friends so that they bring US$120 000 to pay for his release.

One of his friends then contacted detectives from the CID Homicide Department who raided the premises in Mandara where he was being kept, leading to the arrest of the gang.

Harare provincial police spokesperson Inspector Luckmore Chakanaza confirmed the kidnapping and arrests but could not shed more details on the case, saying investigations were in progress.

This is not the first time that such cases have occurred in Harare.

In January, a Cameroonian businessman and his accomplice appeared in court for allegedly kidnapping his truck driver who had failed to deliver a consignment of 600 bags of fertiliser in Zambia. 

The driver was abducted from Zimbabwe and taken to Zambia where he was put in remand prison for about two months.

Brian Chande (50) from Chitungwiza and Moussa Mounchikpou from The Grange were asked not to plead when they appeared before Harare regional magistrate Mr Stanford Mambanje charged with kidnapping.

The kidnapping allegedly took place on October 28 last year at Mounchikpou’s offices at 21 Douglas Road, Workington, Harare where Mounchikpou is the director of Profburg (Private) Limited.

It is alleged that Tasara Hwata (47) was summoned to the offices by his boss and Chande together with three other accomplices who are still at large.

The accomplices claimed to be police officers and told Hwata that he was under arrest for failing to deliver 600 bags of fertiliser to Omnia Fertiliser Company in Zambia.

According to the State, the three assaulted Hwata with a baton while he was handcuffed, ordering him to tell them where he had offloaded the truckload of fertiliser.

At around 5pm, the gang forcibly took Hwata into their motor vehicle against his will and drove to Chirundu Border Post where they handed him over to Lloyd Chisumba, a Zambian who was in the company of Zambian police officers.

The court heard Chisumba, who was using an Isuzu twin-cab, took Hwata to Mosque Police Post in Makeni, Zambia where he was detained.

Hwata was able to eventually make a report through Interpol on December 18, 2023.


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