Desperate plea after son snatched

A family picture taken in Kuala Lampur in January with Nayati, left, the kidnapped boy, his aunt Caroline Swanepoel of Cape Town, father Shamelin, mother Janice Smith and, in front, Nayati's sister Saffiya, 6.

A family picture taken in Kuala Lampur in January with Nayati, left, the kidnapped boy, his aunt Caroline Swanepoel of Cape Town, father Shamelin, mother Janice Smith and, in front, Nayati's sister Saffiya, 6.

Published Apr 28, 2012



A desperate Cape Town-born couple has made a heart-rending plea for the safe return of their 12-year-old son who was kidnapped in Kuala Lampur early yesterday while on his way to the Mont Kiara International School.

The boy, Nayati Moodliar, who is in Grade 7, was snatched on the corner of Jln Tiara by two men and bundled into a vehicle. Its number plates were later found to be false.

The boy’s father, Shamelin Moodliar, and his wife, Janice Smith, have dual South African and Dutch citizenship. Moodliar matriculated from Bishops and Smith from Norman Henshilwood High in Plumstead. The boy’s grandparents all live in Cape Town.

In an emotional plea filmed in Kuala Lampur and broadcast on YouTube, his father urged the kidnappers to let his son go.

“He is our only son. He is a good boy and we need him back. We don’t want any trouble; we just want our son back. It’s not too late to let him go. Nayati will find his way home. It’s not too late – we won’t press charges… He’s got his whole future ahead of him… He never meant any harm to anyone.

“We’re not rich people, please give our son back.”

The couple also has a daughter, Saffiya, 6.

Later, Shamelin told a TV station that they had no idea whether their son had been taken for a ransom, or was snatched to be sent to Thailand for child prostitution purposes.

Late yesterday, South African relatives of the kidnapped boy were glued to their phones anxiously awaiting news from Malaysia.

Smith’s sister, Caroline Swanepoel, said they were shocked.

“We are in contact with them as well as with Shamelin’s family here in Cape Town. It is hard on all of us,” she said.

Her sister was concerned that the investigating officer had arrived to see them only three hours after the abduction.

Swanepoel said her sister, who grew up in Kenilworth, met Shamelin while they were still at school. They went to England and then Holland, where they lived until Shamelin was promoted to the position of a restructuring consultant in Kuala Lampur. “They’ve been there for a year.”

Anushia Moodliar of Century City, who is Shamelin’s cousin, said the family was reeling in shock.

“It’s like a Hollywood movie. It’s just all so unreal. They live about five minutes away from the school and Nayati stopped at the corner to wait for his friend, and that’s when the kidnappers grabbed him.”

Moodliar said a teacher at Nayati’s school witnessed the incident and took down the vehicle’s number plate. “But when they checked the details it came back as a fake registration. CCTV cameras also picked up the entire incident in the Mont Kiara district. Malaysian police are still investigating.”

Moodliar said the Dutch and South African embassies had been in contact with the family.

“When I spoke to them they indicated that the embassies are in contact. But still there is no indication why Nayati was snatched.”

Moodliar said there had been no threats prior to Nayati’s abduction.

“We feel so far away from them, unable to comfort or assist, but luckily through social networking we’ve been able to keep in touch.”

South Africa’s International Relations spokesman, Clayson Monyela, said the department had been alerted about the abduction because the boy’s father is a South African citizen but the Dutch embassy was handling the case.

”The boy entered Malaysia on a Dutch passport. His father is South African and his mother is a Dutch national. We are, however, being kept abreast of developments,” Monyela said.


The kidnapping sparked a massive buzz on social networking sites around the globe.

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube followers and subscribers were all pleading for the boy’s safe return.

“Have a heart and return him to his family…

“I pray he will be found, safe and sound,” one subscriber said.

Another commented: “Lighting a candle and loving, protective prayers from London.”

The Mont Kiara International School confirmed the news of the abduction, saying: “School was in lock-down due to the abduction of a Grade 7 student Nayati Moodliar prior to the start of the school day. All other students are safe and accounted for.

“Abducted child has not been located. Police have informed that amber alert has been issued.”

A Facebook page has been set up appealing for help, and anyone with information about Nayati’s whereabouts is asked to call 019 233 3065 or 012 689 5377. - Weekend Argus

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