5 Jun 2009

PNG kidnappers arrested after ransom payment

5:28 pm on 5 June 2009

A high-profile Papua New Guinean businessman's family members kidnapped and held for ransom have been released safely after a six-day police operation.

The 12-year-old daughter of Leon Buskens, who is the managing director of a superannuation provider, Nambawan Super, his sister-in-law and her two-year-old child were held for nearly a week, with criminals demanding just under two million US dollars for their return.

Several of the kidnappers were arrested after the three hostages were released on Thursday afternoon, following the payment of a smaller sum.

Police swooped on several locations in Port Moresby after using mobile phone and ATM tracking technology.

Superintendent Fred Yakasa says the Australian Federal Police had provided crucial technical help.

Mr Yakasa has told the National newspaper the criminals posed as PNG Power workers in a stolen company vehicle.

He says they initially demanded nearly two million US dollars, but during negotiations the figure dropped, until about 12,000 US dollars was paid.