As reports of kidnapping gain currency in the country, particularly in Sekondi-Takoradi, some unscrupulous persons have decided to fake the claims to make money from unsuspecting members of the public.
The phoney kidnapping claims have again surfaced in the twin-city, with the latest leading to the arrest of two persons.
One of them, a studen allegedly conspired with some friends to demand a ransom of GH¢9000 from his parents, while the other faked a kidnapping case against her ex-husband.
The incidents sent the Takoradi Police on a wild goose chase for the suspected kidnappers.
In one of the cases, an 18-year-old final-year student of the Ghana Secondary Technical Senior High School (GSTS), De-Vreeze Quaynoo, allegedly conspired with some other students to fake the kidnapping claim.
Police said they were pursuing the other accomplices, whose names were given as Anthony Osei-Prempeh, Elijah Sam, one Daniel and Evelyn.
In the other case, a mother of two, Lucy Awortwi, said to be in her late 20s, was arrested after she faked a kidnapping case against his ex-husband.
She has, however, been released on police enquiry bail.
According to the Metropolitan Police Crime Officer, Superintendent Alhaji Musah Hussein Awinaba, Daniel and De-Vreeze bought and registered a new SIM card to be used in making calls for the money-extorting effort.
He said Daniel was given the SIM card to call De-Vreeze’s parents and relatives who lived at Sefwi Wiawso, that De-Vreeze had been kidnapped and the assailants were demanding a ransom of GH¢9000.
Briefing the Daily Graphic, he said at 9:20 p.m. last Wednesday, the Senior Housemaster of GSTS, Mr Bernard Adu Ampako, informed the police that Quaynoo had left the school premises about 3 p.m. and had subsequently been reported kidnapped by an unknown caller.
The housemaster explained that the Assistant School Prefect (ASP), who was using De-vreeze’s phone, had received a call from a strange voice that De-vreeze had been kidnapped for which a GH¢9000 ransom was being demanded.
He said investigators were immediately sent to gather intelligence during which they found that the victim was with some of his friends in a house around the Takoradi Secondary School (TADISCO).
Alhaji Awinaba said when the team arrived at the scene, they found De-vreeze’s school uniform in the house and asked how the uniform got there.
The landlady, he said, told the police that De-vreeze and the other alleged accomplices, namely Osei-Prempeh, Daniel and Evelyn, visited her son, Elijah Sam, the previous night and stayed until 10 p.m. when she asked them to go back home.
The landlady said although they left, they returned to her son the following morning with an explanation that they were there to study.
The metropolitan crime officer said Osei-Prempeh, one of the students allegedly involved in planning the fake kidnapping story, was confronted and out of panic revealed the plot and offered to show them where De-Vreeze could be found.
“They led the investigator to the Anaji Chief’s Palace where he found De-Vreeze wearing only his boxer shorts,” he said.
Alhaji Awinaba said De-Vreeze pretended to be in pain as he complained of chest pains so he was sent to the Takoradi Hospital where he was treated and discharged.
The crime officer said upon interrogation, he confessed that he capitalised on the current situation and played the kidnapping gimmick with his friends in order to extort money from his parents to purchase some ink to print fake currency.
The metropolitan crime officer said further investigations revealed that his accomplices were all students of GSTS, Fijai SHS and Takoradi SHS.
Ex-husband and wife
In the other case, Mr Awiniba said Lucy capitalised on her ex-husband’s permission to send their two children to visit their grandmother at Beposo to make up a case of kidnapping in order to get the man arrested to teach him a lesson.
According to Alhaji Awinaba, Lucy called the police emergency line to complain that someone had kidnapped her two children.
The police deployed personnel to the location Lucy had provided, but upon interrogation they realised that Lucy had misled the police with a premeditated ploy to put her ex-husband in trouble.
Alhaji Awinaba reiterated the caution to the public to desist from creating unnecessary fear and panic in society with allegations of kidnapping and similar crimes.