The family of kidnapped businessman Noor Karriem had been advised by activist Hanif Loonat not to make any statements in an effort to keep the perpetrators guessing.
Loonat said the kidnappers were professional gangs who were one step ahead of the authorities. Hanif Loonat rubbished claims that a ransom demand had already been made, adding that ransom amounts usually started at around R50million.
Loonat added that in all the kidnappings so far in the Western Cape no ransoms have been paid except for Bangladeshi businessman Mustapha Goolam who was found within 24 hours after he was kidnapped in December 2016.
The activist said these gangs know victims’ overseas bank accounts, personal data and whereabouts of their family members.
He explained that the kidnappers had tortured some of those for whom ransom had been paid. Loonat added that Noor Karriem was alive and that his kidnappers would take between two and three months before contacting his family.
According to Loonat, this is their modus operandi and a dead victim is worth nothing to them. Ransom is paid based on the Hawala money transfer system.
Hawala often referred to as underground banking is a method of transferring money without any money actually moving and is an extremely archaic method of moving money. Hawala provides anonymity in its transactions, as official records are not kept and the source of money that is transferred cannot be traced
Karriem, who owns Giant Hyper, was forcefully removed from his business in Epping on September 23. He was the sixth businessman kidnapped in four years.
Police spokesperson FC van Wyk confirmed that the matter was still under investigation and detectives were following up on all leads.
Police have also urged anyone with information that can assist with the investigation to contact Crime Stop at 0860010111.
More: Cape Argus