The Hostage Business

A very telling article from many sides of a complex issue. (From the NYT Magazine

The Hostage Business


Published: December 6, 2009

Kidnapping in the developing world is a grim byproduct of globalization, and a strange and shadowy ransom industry has grown to protect and retrieve the victims. But are all the consultants and insurers really just part of the problem?

How Not To Get Kidnapped in China (Via Forbes)

I came across this article through one of my network on LinkedIn.  I thought it would be important to share with all of you here.  It’s an excellent exposé (first hand account) of a phenomenon that occurs with increasing regularity.  In a nutshell kidnapping in China as reflected in the article is not a tactic used by syndicated crime groups as we know to be the MO around the world.  It is rather the result of a lack of knowledge from cavalier western businessmen about local business culture and customs.


Cloaking Strategy Gone Wrong

A word of caution to security practitioners operating in trouble spots; be careful what cover stories you use. The ruse may carry more risk than just taking proper precautions.  I get the part of passing off as a neutral person, but before adopting a strategy like this think of the long term consequences to journalists every.  Despots and murderers don’t need more excuses to accuse journalists of being spies and such.  Having said that, I think everyone should adopt all necessary measures to stay safe, but not at the expense of other vulnerable professionals else down the chain.

Two French Security Advisers Abducted in Somalia

By Edward Cody

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

PARIS, July 14 — Two French security advisers posing as journalists were abducted from their hotel in Mogadishu on Tuesday by Somali gunmen, according to the Foreign Ministry and reports from the chaotic Somali capital.

The Foreign Ministry did not identify the two men or specify which branch of the French government had dispatched them to Somalia. But it said in an announcement that they were in Mogadishu on “an official mission” to assist the Western-backed government of President Sharif Ahmed in “security matters.”

A senior official in Ahmed’s government told Agence France-Presse, the main French news agency, that the two men had arrived in Mogadishu nine days ago, invited by the Somali Defense Ministry to train “their counterparts in Somali intelligence agencies.”

The men were staying at the Hotel Sahafi International, which over the years has gained a reputation as headquarters for foreign correspondents covering the violence that has ripped Somalia apart. In more recent times, however, few Western journalists have ventured into Mogadishu, where the official police and army are weak, heavily armed factions often rule the streets and kidnapping is a constant danger….