Growing fears over the spread of Latin American-style "express" kidnappings in Spain have been fuelled by the snatching of a 12-year-old boy who was returned to his family after they reportedly paid €50,000 (£34,000).
The boy was released on a country road outside the south-eastern town of Torre Pacheco, Murcia, in the early hours of yesterday morning after being held by kidnappers for 18 hours.
He had been snatched from the offices of his parents' company by armed robbers who had intended to steal wages from the safe. The kidnappers tussled with the boy's mother as they dragged him away.
Express kidnappings, which are common in Mexico and other parts of Latin America, have begun to emerge as a serious crime problem in Spain. Victims are often beaten up to ensure rapid payment from their families.
The boy, who has not been named, was spending the day at the family business because he was off sick from school.
A neighbour saw him being bundled into a van by masked men and was able to give police the licence number. Although police later arrested the driver and the van owner, they were unable to find the child. The kidnappers then demanded a ransom, which was reported to have been paid on Monday night.
"The parents are happy to have their child back but are shocked by what has happened to them," the mayor of Torre Pacheco, Daniel García, said.
Opposition politicians, who link growing crime with a recent surge in immigration, have demanded that the prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, take measures to tackle kidnappings.
Mariano Rajoy, leader of the conservative People's party, recently demanded that he "take measures againstexpress kidnappings, street gangs and attacks on houses" by "immigrants who don't come here to earn a living but are criminals".
The Madrid prosecutor's office reported earlier this year that seven express kidnapping gangs were captured by police during 2005. There were 147 kidnappings in Madrid alone last year – although prosecutors were unable to say how many of them were express kidnappings. They said many kidnappings were not reported to the police.
"Opposition politicians, who link growing crime with a recent surge in immigration".
No, the problem is not inmigration in itself, but how this phenomenon is been dealt with. If you let a lot of people enter, without any way to live, without documentation, etc. this leads first to people living of charity or with very precarious jobs -as they are not legal immigrants- and as a result to a very low life quality. And it also leads to people coming from abroad with less good intentions.
Belgrade.Crime groups from Eastern Europe and the Balkans daunt the touristsalong the Spanish coast, as well as the residents of the rich quartersin the Spanish cities, Serbian newspaper Blic reads today citing Spanish media.This topic is also commented by Der Spiegel which points out that the members of the crime groups are mainly “former policemenor officers from Romania, Bulgaria, Kosovo and the former USSR.” The gang members point a gun at their victims and make them tell the codes of their safes or their credit card PINs.The groups are using unseen violence, mostly inland, where the crime rate is low as a whole.Additional police teams have already been sent to the threatened areaswhich include Valencia and Catalonia.
So, inmigration is a good phenomenon, but if people who enters the country is controlled and their past known. This is a good proof of that.
- Spanish Immigration problem.
- Why I am very concerned about these news.
- More on Spanish immigration.
- Immigrants are paid to return to their countries or relocated in PP-ruled cities.
The good thing is that the Central Government has been able to send Civil Guards -some not yet even Civil Guards but in proofs, and with not enough police cars, so they have to use taxis (yeah, taxis…)-because the Statute has not yet been passed. Because if not the Central Government would not have had powers to send them…