Kidnap and Ransom

News, information and statistics about kidnap for ransom activities. Data about the security threat is collected from intelligence reports, security companies, kidnap for ransom insurance brokers, hostage negotiators and other public information.

In December 2012, South Korean company Hyundai Heavy Industries reportedly paid $192,100 in ransom to release six workers who had been kidnapped and held hostage.

The leader of the kidnapping gang told the police that he used his share of the ransom to purchase electronic devices such as DVD players.

Kidnapping for ransom is a highly profitable activity for criminal gangs in the Niger Delta.

Source:  Isaac Abrak, “Nigerian police say Hyundai paid some $190,000 for hostages,” Reuters, January 4, 2013.

There were 3,102 armored vehicles sold in Mexico in 2012, according to the Mexican Automotive Armour Association. 70 percent of the purchases of armored vehicles were made by the private sector, and 30 percent of vehicles were purchased by government security agencies.

The number of protected vehicles sold was up 10 percent from the amount sold in 2011.

The most popular types of vehicles that had security features attached to it were the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban and the Jeep Cherokee.

The increases in armored vehicles is attributed to the increase in violence from the drug trafficking cartels as well as the rise in kidnapping for ransom.

Source:  Freya Peterson, “Sales of armored cars soar 10% in Mexico as drug war escalates,” GlobalPost, January 2, 2013.

In 2012, the average ransom demand by militants in Nigeria for kidnapping hostages was $490,000, based on reported accounts. The average amount of ransom eventually paid to the kidnappers after negotiations was brought down to $50,000.

Source:  Associated Press, “Kidnapping of Nigeria finance minister’s mother sign of increasing ransom abductions in nation,” Washington Post, December 10, 2012.


The recorded number of Somali pirate attacks has declined, according to the European Union Navel Force Somalia.

In 2011, navel forces recorded 176 pirate attacks and attempted hijackings. In 2012, the security services recorded 34 attempted hijackings off the coast of Somalia.

(More kidnap for ransom statistics.)

Source:  Roopa Gogineni, “Somali Pirate Attacks Plummet in 2012,” Voice of America, December 6, 2012.

According to industry officials, there are around 300,000 private security guards working in the Central America region. The number of private guards in the region are higher than the number of police officers in the region. The rise in security guards to attributed to fears of kidnap for ransom activities.

In Guatemala, there are 24,000 police officers in the country. The number of security guards is estimated to be around 100,000.

In Costa Rica and Honduras, there are twice as many security guards as police officers in each country.

The private security guard industry in the region is growing at 8 percent annually.

Source:  AFP, “Private security industry grows as organized crime spreads through Central America,” Tico Times, October 21, 2012.

Islamist Militants are believed to have earned $120 Million between 2002 and 2012, according to a United States Treasury Official.

The Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), based in Algeria,  is estimated to have made tens of millions of dollars in ransom payments.

The average ransom payment made towards Islamist Militants from their kidnapping activities was around $5 Million.

(More kidnap and ransom security threats.)

Source:  Noah Barkin, “Al Qaeda in North Africa making millions kidnapping: U.S.,” Reuters, October 2, 2012.

There were about 7,000 reported cases of kidnappings in Pakistan in 2011, with 3,090 kidnapping occurring in the city of Karachi.

The Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child, a Pakistani child advocacy organization, stated that Pakistan is one of the world’s five most dangerous countries for kidnappings.

Source:  Michele Langevine Leiby, “Pakistan a dismal place to be a kid, report finds,” Washington Post, September 24, 2012.

In 2012, it was reported that the average kidnap for ransom payout in Mexico was up to $50,000.

The Ministry of Public Security in the country reported that up to 30 percent of all kidnappings for ransom were conducted by drug trafficking organizations, with the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas Cartel responsible for 50 percent of the kidnappings.

Source:  Patrick Corcoran, “Mexico Report Tackles Kidnapping-Drug Trafficking Nexus,” InSight, July 30, 2012.

The cost of piracy in Somalia was estimated to be between $6.6 Billion to $6.9 Billion in 2011. The cost of piracy was over 110 percent of Somalia’s GDP in 2011.

Out of the total 439 piracy attacks that occurred in 2011, 275 attacks took place off the waters of Somalia.

Source: Annette Leijenaar and Timothy Walker, “Somalia: Rooting Out Piracy Starts On-Shore,” All Africa, July 9, 2012.

The Commissioner of the Federal CID of Malaysia reported that there were a total of 80 officially reported cases of kidnapping for ransom in the country between 2010 and May 15 of 2012. Out of the 80 cases, 59 kidnapping cases were solved and 61 kidnapping victims were released after either police action or the ransom being paid.

Source: “Kidnap cases on the decline,” Asia One, May 29, 2012.