GEORGE TOWN: A crack police team rescued a young Syrian chef who was kidnapped hours earlier from a restaurant in Tanjong Tokong here.
The chef, in his 20s, was bundled into a car at around 5.30pm and minutes later his elder brother received a ransom demand for RM100,000 through his cellphone.
The brothers have been living and working in Penang for the past three years and hold refugee cards under the United Nations Refugees Agency (UNHCR).
The police were notified and began to track down the suspects based on information gleaned from the victim’s brother.
A few hours later at the Batu Ferringhi tourism belt area, a police unit detected the alleged kidnappers and surrounded them.
The three suspects, two Syrian nationals and a female Malaysian, emerged from a car and upon police inspecting the vehicle, found the victim in the back seat, his hands tied with tape.
The suspects have been remanded to facilitate investigations.
The Malaysian woman, who was with the alleged kidnappers, had two prior convictions for drug abuse and narcotics distribution.
She tested positive together with one of the Syrian suspects.
Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department director Datuk Huzir Mohamed confirmed the case, and said the police were also tracing the backgrounds of the two Syrians to determine if they had ties to terror groups.
Huzir also said that the police were seeking help from the public, who may have witnessed a daring daylight heist at the North-South Expressway near Seberang Jaya, last Monday.
A jewellery worker and an associate were held up by three robbers who were wearing ski masks,. The robbers sandwiched their vehicle with two luxury vehicles at about 9am.
The suspects got out and smashed the windscreen of the car, and grabbed jewellery worth RM900,000 from the two men, before fleeing in their two cars.
Police have yet to discover any leads including whether the robbers had inside help.