JEDDAH: The Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution in Jeddah is interrogating two men and a woman arrested for kidnapping and extortion. They allegedly kidnapped runaway underage girls and blackmailed their parents into paying money.
The three had kept five girls in an apartment and then threatened to kill them if their parents did not pay up, according to a report in a local publication.
The operations of the three were uncovered after Al-Jammaa police station received a report from a citizen saying that his 13-year-old daughter had been absent from home for days.
The father said that he had informed the police after discovering that her mobile phone was still working, and had received threats from people who wanted money in exchange for her safe return. Detectives later found the girl in the Rabwah neighborhood, where they arrested a taxi driver who was with her in his car.
It was discovered that the man was involved in providing a shelter for her and other runaway girls. The girl said she had voluntarily left her home with a taxi and stayed at a local mall. It was there she met a woman who offered to provide her a place to stay.
The girl said she was taken to an apartment where there were four other girls who had also run away from home. The taxi driver and another man attended to their every demand, and also sent messages to their parents demanding money for their safe return. They were locked in the apartment, she said.
The police reportedly determined that the two men suspects are friends and had used another woman’s apartment as shelter for the 13-year-old girl. The woman had later complained to her accomplices that her husband did not want the girl in their house.
The police discovered that one of the accused was also wanted in connection with a case of harassment.
They have been charged with human trafficking and extortion.