SINGAPORE: Police have arrested two Singaporean men, aged 41 and 50, who are believed to be involved in a kidnapping case.
On Wednesday, January 8, at about 2.13pm, a police report was lodged by Lim Hock Chee, CEO of the Sheng Siong supermarket chain, over a phone call he had received from an unknown person.
The caller had demanded a ransom of S$20 million for the return of his 79-year-old mother, Madam Ng Lai Poh.
She was unhurt and released after a S$2 million ransom was paid.
Madam Ng was kidnapped while she was walking alone along Block 631, Hougang Avenue 8 on Wednesday.
She had gone to the market that morning and had breakfast -- a routine she has been doing for the past 10 years.
Madam Ng was told by one of the suspects that her son Mr Lim has had a bad fall, and requested that she follow him into his car on the pretext of bringing her to Mr Lim.
She was then transferred to another car driven by the second suspect. This was when she was blindfolded and her hands tied.
Details of the kidnapping were announced at a police conference on Thursday.
Police said the kidnappers had asked for a ransom of S$20 million, but this was later renegotiated to S$2 million.
Even though Mr Lim was told by the kidnappers not to alert the police, he did so believing that was the best action to take.
"I think it's very important, (as) we can't do anything (and) we don't have any weapons. We also don't have the experience in this kind of case. We trust our police, (so) we met (and) we made a police report," said Mr Lim.
On Wednesday evening -- acting on the instructions of the kidnappers -- Mr Lim placed a bag containing S$2 million cash in Sembawang Park, and then left the area.
The ransom amount was the highest ever recorded in a kidnapping case in Singapore.
Madam Ng was released in the area of Seletar West Camp in the early hours of Thursday.
Having ensured the safety of the victim, police continued with their operations and arrested the two suspects in separate locations, less than 12 hours after the kidnapping was reported.
The 41-year-old was arrested at Ang Mo Kio, while the 50-year-old was caught at his home in Hougang.
The ransom was also recovered.
"We are grateful families of victims remained calm, alerted police and cooperated," said Deputy Commissioner (Investigations & Intelligence) Hoong Wee Teck at the police news conference.
The police have classified the case as kidnapping.
"Kidnapping is a very serious offence which is punishable on conviction with death or life imprisonment. The police will spare no efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice,” said Adrian Quek, assistant director of the Crime Division at the Criminal Investigation Department.
“Time is of the essence in such cases. In this instance, the early reporting by the informant and his full cooperation had resulted in the swift and successful solving of this case."
The two suspects will be charged in court on Friday.
In the past 13 years, there had been three cases of kidnapping for ransom.
All cases were solved by the police and the kidnappers jailed for life.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean commended the police for their swift arrest of the two suspects.
Mr Teo, who is also the coordinating minister for national security and the home affairs minister, also commended the family of the victim for their response.
He said: "The family of the victim had done the right thing by lodging a police report immediately. The family also gave the police their full cooperation." - CNA/nd/sf/ec
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