06/08/2005

Decent people held to ransom by rising crime

Vol XXVIII   NO. 139      Saturday      6th August 2005

A Sri Lankan housemaid is being terrorised in East Riffa by masked thugs, who are making her life a living hell. They not only knock on her door at night but have also dragged her out of the house, in an apparent attempt to kidnap her, in broad daylight.

The two men, dressed from head to toe in black, have reportedly done this before, to a different maid in the same house and the police have been informed.

But the first woman was too terrified to stay in Bahrain and has left the country, according to a report which appeared in Thursday's GDN.

Now another woman, who has left her family and home to come and work in Bahrain to make ends meet, is being targeted by what their employer believes to be the same duo.

The fact that this is happening just a few kilometres from where I live is frightening.

This isn't my Bahrain. This isn't where I was brought up and this isn't the level of security I expect from a country which is opening its doors wide open for foreign investors and tourists.

It was only last week that the GDN reported a court case in which a Chinese cook was kidnapped, locked in a room in a villa in East Riffa for five days and beaten by his captors, who threatened to kill him unless his family in China paid a ransom of 70,000 Yuan (BD3,451).

When police finally rescued this 25-year-old victim, he was found battered, bruised and malnourished, after being left with no food and water for three days.

What exactly is going on? I fully realise that these two incidents are not related, even though they both happened in East Riffa.

But the fact that they happened in an area inhabited by families is alarming and is a big cause for concern.

If this is not all, a little bit of investigation, has uncovered a mystery which should be addressed by the authorities as soon as possible.

Figures show that 18 people were kidnapped last year.

If this was Iraq, I would understand, but Bahrain? Eighteen people? Where were we? Why have they been kidnapped and what's happened to them?

Only two were kidnapped this year until June, says the country's top policeman.

This came straight from Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, in his address to Parliament in June, when our honourable MPs discussed crime rates in Bahrain.

Before someone goes on the rampage and attacks me for being the bearer of bad news, I would like to welcome you all to the new world order.

Apparently, we are not alone.

According to the Guardian, there is almost a kidnapping a day in the UK capital, London, mostly related to the underworld of crime.

Half of all the kidnappers and victims are foreign nationals, usually from the same ethnic group.

With the bombings and kidnappings and all, please don't ask what my plans are for the summer.

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