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Police arrested two of the kidnappers inside a restaurant, just as a relative was about to pay the money demanded in exchange for the tourist's release. SUR
Crime

Watch as police swoop after tourist endures 23-day kidnapping ordeal on the Costa del Sol, immediately after landing at Malaga Airport

The captors demanded a payment of 500,000 euros in cryptocurrencies from the victim's family for his safe release

Irene Quirante

Malaga

Tuesday, 16 April 2024, 13:40

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He was kidnapped within minutes of landing at Malaga Airport. The Swedish victim was then held for 23 days by a criminal gang who demanded 500,000 euros in cryptocurrencies for his release. The victim, according to police sources, spent all this time locked in rooms in various properties on the Costa del Sol, with the captors changing the location every five days. The gang handcuffed him and planted a tracking device on one of the victim's shoes to know where he was at all times.

National Police in Malaga have now arrested two people, of Syrian and Lebanese origin, for their alleged involvement in the abduction. The Swedish man had allegedly come to Malaga from Turkey with a friend to get to know the country. But on his arrival at the airport, he was picked up by a third person, allegedly sent by his friend to take him to the hotel where he would be staying. That's where things turned sinister.

The police investigation started following a complaint from one of the tourist's relatives, who had not heard from him since he landed on the Costa del Sol, until several days later when the captors contacted them. They would not release him until they were given 500,000 euros in cryptocurrencies, they told the family.

Police officers discovered the first flat where the abducted man had been kept, although the gang had already moved the victim to the next point. They would change addresses every five days using false documentation, renting vehicles and tourist accommodation, according to investigators.

Intense negotiations

One of the victim's relatives, who lives in Istanbul in Turkey, then travelled to Malaga as he was the person the kidnappers contacted to carry out their demands. National Police then set up a rescue operation and provided concise instructions to the friend on how to communicate with the kidnappers. After five days of intense negotiations, a ransom was agreed to be paid in a restaurant.

Police established a wide surveillance deployment of the premises where the meeting was due to take place. Apparently, one of the alleged kidnappers had been scouring the area to detect any possible police presence. Then another of the alleged kidnappers went to the restaurant together with the victim, where they met with the family member.

Once they were inside, police officers burst into the restaurant and released the tourist after 23 days of captivity, and arrested the two suspects. According to the victim's testimony, he had spent all that time restrained and locked up in rooms. The criminals would always keep their faces hidden with balaclavas and masks.

Once released, and after receiving medical assistance, the kidnapped man provided various pieces of information that led police officers to the last property where he had been held. During the search of the house in Fuengirola, officers seized mobile phones, the handcuffs used to restrain the victim, and tracking devices. During the arrest, police officers also seized a pistol from one of the suspects.

The two suspects are beingg held in pre-trial detention for their alleged involvement in the kidnapping. However, police are convinced they did not act alone and the investigation is ongoing.

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