This week Abdullah Carrim pleaded with the kidnappers to return his father. “We are appealing to the hijackers to be kind and merciful to an elderly man. What does it hurt to send him to theatre?” Abdullah asked.
If Carrim had not been kidnapped last Thursday evening after leaving his business in Pretoria, he would today have been recuperating from open heart surgery.
Carrim was scheduled for surgery at the Zuid-Afrikaans hospital in Sunnyside last Friday, a day after his new Mercedes-Benz was found burnt out on the outskirts of the city.
Abdullah said he had spoken to his father’s kidnappers on several occasions in the past week, pleading with them to take him to hospital for a heart operation.
“There’s kindness in everybody’s heart, and I’m sure there’s kindness in their hearts too. No matter how bad the person is there is always love. There is always goodness.
“God has given goodness to everybody. No matter how bad people perceive you to be there’s always love and kindness in every human being,” said Abdullah.
So far family members have claimed they haven't received a ransom demand.
And the Carrim family are not the only ones dealing with an alleged kidnapping.
In the Western Cape businessman Zhaun Ahmed’s abductors are demanding a R44million ransom for his safe return. He was abducted by four men in Salt River on July 25.
Some experts fear that this type of crime is on the increase and that it is being driven by international crime syndicates.
Private Investigator Shaheen Suleiman said he had dealt with four such recent cases, and they often involved foreigners.
Their modus operandi, he explained, was that they would abduct a businessman, then wait five or six days to contact the family.
Before pouncing on their target they would spend time gathering intelligence, checking their mark’s movements and planning how to best move in and commit their crime.
“The phone calls often come from international numbers and they will ask the family to deposit the ransom into an overseas account,” Suleiman explained.
As the syndicate was operating internationally it made it difficult for local law enforcement to respond.
Gareth Newham, of the Institute for Security Studies, said in the past the police had a good success rate against kidnappers.
“Kidnappers would definitely look for the vulnerable who are less likely to go to the police,” he explained.
Ex-Hawks member Marcel van der Watt said that what he found was that kidnappers were criminal opportunists who participated in a wide range of crimes.
To safeguard against kidnappings, Suleiman suggested that likely targets use car trackers, keep in contact with families or have bodyguards.
Meanwhile, the Carrim family await the next phone call from their father’s abductors.
“We are destroyed. The family has collapsed. We haven't been able to eat or sleep properly in the last week."