GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines ? The practice of a Chinese-Filipino businessman of gassing up only a few liters at a time stymied his kidnappers and saved him from the ordeal of having to remain in captivity for much longer.
Police said William Ang Go, 55, was inside his grains store here when four armed men, riding tandem on two motorcycles, arrived past 2 p.m.Thursday and forcibly took him away ? in the businessman?s old-model Toyota Corolla, which the kidnappers commandeered.
The police and members of the Army?s Joint Task Force-Gensan immediately launched a pursuit operation and caught up with the car in the village of San Jose, about 30 kilometers from the city proper. But the kidnappers were gone.
Senior Superintendent Cedric Train, General Santos police chief, told reporters that the car ran out of gas, and the kidnappers, apparently seeing the pursuing troopers, decided to abandon the vehicle and the victim.
Tan was recovered unharmed at 5:55 p.m. or less than four hours after he was abducted.
Train said Tan?s practice of gassing up a few liters a day and his sticking to an old-model car stymied the kidnappers enroute to their hideaway.
?The victim was using a 1997-model Toyota car and it was not full-tank. The car bogged down and it ran out of fuel,? Train said.
He said the police were pursuing their investigation of the kidnapping and were following up on some leads.
Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio hailed the police and the Joint Task Force-Gensan for the immediate rescue of the kidnap victim.
Custodio also credited the community for helping the police keep on the right track of the kidnappers and the victim.
?The people and the community had a vital role played in the rescue. They reported to us the location of the kidnappers and the victim,? Custodio said.
In Zamboanga City, the family of a kidnapped Basilan businesswoman said her captors were demanding firearms and cash in exchange for setting the victim free.
However, Rina Baranda Ekstrom, sister-in-law of captive Rosabella Baranda, said the family could not afford the demand, which police had reported to be P3 million.
"They are asking for ransom and weapons. When my ailing brother was alive we could not even send him to a better hospital in Zamboanga, now these kidnappers are demanding for something we cannot afford to give," Ekstrom said. She said the ransom money demanded was P500,000, substantially smaller than what the police reported.
The victim?s husband died in Lamitan, Basilan, in June due to a lingering illness.
Baranda, 60, was on her way home to Sumisip on November 2 when armed men flagged the public utility jeep she was riding between between the towns of Ungkaya Pukan and Tipo-tipo.
Ekstrom said they were leaving everything to the police and the military "since we cannot afford their demand.?