Ransom kidnappings topped 1,000 last year

More than a thousand abductions were recorded in Russia in 2003, a drop of 10% from 2002, according to Colonel Yury Demidov, first deputy chief of the Main Administration for the Fight Against Organized Crime of the Interior Ministry and head of the so-called T Center. Demidov spoke at a press conference here Tuesday, Rosbalt reported. He said 580 of the abductions had been solved, 223 sent to the courts and that 307 persons had been charged. 'It is most important that, in such situations, citizens contact us. That gives us the best chance of saving the life of the abducted person,' Demidov said.

The chief said his department was particularly concerned about abductions of foreigners. 'To prevent such crimes, we work with the security agencies of the US, Britain, France, China,' he said. 'Such abductions are generally related to the victim's business activity and not done to upset relations between the other country and Russia.'

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