Police concern over 'tiger kidnapping' cases
17 January 2006, BRUSSELS — Federal police recorded 25 so-called 'tiger kidnappings' last year in what is a growing phenomenon. Just eight cases have been solved.
17 January 2006
BRUSSELS — Federal police recorded 25 so-called 'tiger kidnappings' last year in what is a growing phenomenon. Just eight cases have been solved.
A tiger kidnapping involves the culprits forcing entry to an employee's house, kidnapping them and forcing them to drive to their workplace to open a safe. Banks are increasingly a target of such tactics.
Of the 25 tiger kidnappings recorded, 21 of them succeeded. However, police were able to arrest 18 suspects and solve six successful kidnappings and two attempted kidnappings.
Police have raised concerns about the rising number of tiger kidnappings. In the 1st quarter of 2005, police reported just two cases, but this figure rose to nine in the 4th quarter.
Most of the crimes took place around Charleroi (five reported cases), followed by Liège (four) and Namen (three). Police said the most popular targets are banks (11), post offices (four) and jewellers (four).
Police also said the 18 arrests and the arrest of a gang in Châtelet on 5 January prove that they are performing good work, newspaper 'De Standaard' reported on Tuesday.
Combating tiger kidnappings is one of the federal police force's priorities. "This is because they are a traumatic experience for the victims," federal police officer Paul Van Thielen said.
Van Thielen also said tiger kidnappings contribute to safety concerns, despite the limited number of cases.
However, the police officer questioned why criminals would resort to such tactics, stressing that the chance of arrest is very high because they are at the scene of a crime for hours and leave a large amount of clues.
He also said the amount stolen is relatively limited and often needs to be shared between three, four or five culprits. The criminals also risk severe jail terms.
In 2005, police established a workgroup with companies and organisations whose staff are potentially at threat from the new form of criminality.
The workgroup is advising those at threat to exert greater vigilance, while police are even advising the public to adopt a slight form of paranoia.
The tips include ensuring you are not being followed while in the car, knowing where the nearest police station is, securing your home and refraining from widely publicising your agenda and installing an alarm.
Those who do fall victim to a tiger kidnapping are urged to co-operate with the culprits and carefully observe all that happens to later assist police.
British police first used the term tiger kidnapping, which is used to describe a kidnapping in which the culprits work like a tiger. They carefully choose their victim, observe them for a long time and then strike.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news