Hawks operation in Gqeberha rescues Lu Xian, arrests three suspects.

During an Eastern Cape Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) operation in Gqeberha, kidnapping victim Lu Xian was rescued on Tuesday night, while three suspects were arrested.

The Gqeberha-based team collaborated with Gqeberha Crime Intelligence (CI), Provincial Local Criminal Record Centre (LCRC) members, the Hostage Negotiating Team (HNT), and the Flying Squad to rescue Xian, 43, after he had been kidnapped on 10 April.

At about 5.40pm on the day of the incident, Xian was kidnapped while leaving his workplace at an Uitenhage shopping mall.

Forced into white Isuzu

“He was allegedly forced into a white Isuzu double-cab bakkie, and his VW Crafter minibus was reportedly driven off by one of the suspects,” said Hawks spokesperson Captain Yolisa Mgolodela.

Mgolodela added that, in order to ensure the victim’s safe return, all parties involved in the arrest launched a coordinated operation.

A demand for a ransom had been made though the Hawks would not divulge the figure of the ransom.

On Tuesday night, at around 7.15pm, the teams received information about the suspects being in an RDP house in Missionvale. Upon arrival, they found the victim tied with chains and his face covered.

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“Three suspects, aged between 31 and 41, were arrested on the spot. The victim was rescued without the payment of the ransom,” Mgolodela said.

Furthermore, a 9mm pistol, a shotgun, a Renault Triber, and an Isuzu double-cab bakkie were seized during the operation.

Trio to appear in court on Friday

The trio is expected to appear before the Uitenhage Magistrate’s Court on Friday, 19 April.

Eastern Cape provincial head Major General Mboiki Obed Ngwenya said he was elated about the success of the team as the arrest could potentially open up other kidnapping cases that are currently being investigated.

According to a recent Statistics South Africa report, more than 16 000 kidnappings are recorded annually in the country. 

ALSO READ: Rising tide of kidnappings grips SA, new approach needed


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