Police in Pakistan’s biggest city Karachi on Monday rescued a teenage boy who was kidnapped for a half-million dollar ransom after apparently being lured through Facebook, officers and relatives said.
Officers raided the gang’s hideout to the west of the sprawling city, which is plagued by gang violence and extortion rackets, killing four of the abductors in a shootout and arresting a fifth.
The kidnappers started chatting to their 13-year-old target, identified only as Mustafa, six months ago, senior police officer Niaz Khoso said. They enticed him to a meeting on Friday.
The youngster, the son of a senior customs official, was whisked away to the town of Hub outside Karachi in restive Baluchistan province, and his family received calls demanding 50 million rupees ($508,000) in ransom.
Police said they used mobile phone records to track the kidnappers to the hideout in Hub and rescued him on Monday morning.
Mustafa’s mother made a tearful plea to parents to supervise their children’s use of social media.
“This is my request to all the parents to never let their children make friendship on Facebook,” she told media, sobbing as she sat beside her son.
“I beg you for God’s sake that you never do.”