Korean owners of the Hyndai Heavy Industries paid N30m to the kidnappers of four of their workers at the company in Okpoama, Brass Local Government, Bayelsa State, it has been confirmed.
Eight gunmen on December 17, 2012 raided the firm and kidnapped Jong Ken, Hi Kim, Doo Lee, Joon Chae and a Nigerian, Austin Giwa.
The victims were, however, released four days later at Azikoro Village in Yenagoa with the management of the company claiming that no ransom was paid for their release.
However, our correspondent learnt that the company paid some money to secure the release of the victims, who spent about five days in the kidnappers’ den.
It was also contrary to the statements by the victims that the kidnappers branded them “bad market” and set them free, despite initially demanding N200m for their freedom.
Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Kingsley Omire, confirmed in Yenagoa on Thursday that the firm paid the ransom to the kidnappers but without consulting the police.
The CP said after arresting the suspects linked to the incident, the police discovered that the firm had bowed to pressure from the hoodlums and parted with N30m.
He said the police initially arrested Romeo Egbo, Goodnews Amabebe, Dito Ologbo and Digiteme Itua a.k.a Seko in connection with the crime.
Omire said, “On interrogation three of the suspects voluntarily confessed to kidnapping the four Koreans and two Nigerians on December 17. They also disclosed to us that one Digiteme Itua alias Seko is the leader of the kidnap gang.
“Itua was arrested in his Odioma house in Brass at about 1.30am. One AK 47 rifle,60 rounds of ammunition, a telescope and three magazines were recovered from his house.”
He, however, said Itua and Egbo tricked the police and escaped.
He also said the suspects escaped after telling the police that they had concealed four AK47 rifles and several rounds of ammunition at Ogboinbiri in Southern Ijaw Local Government.
Omire also said the leader of the gang that kidnapped the Paramount Ruler of Okordia clan, Yenagoa Local Government, King Seiba Simeon, on August 25 had been arrested.