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Kidnapper lets boy go before getting ransom

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A drug-addicted man yesterday committed the most stupefying act of kidnapping Kaoshiung County police had ever seen — he released his victim before arriving at the designated location to pick up his ransom, where he was summarily arrested.

Lin Ting-wen, 36, was reportedly low on drug money and decided to kidnap someone for ransom. His victim was a 10-year-old elementary student, who he threatened with a switchblade and abducted right in front of the Jiading Township Health Center in Kaoshiung County.

Lin made the boy call his father and demand NT$200,000 in ransom for his release. The boy's father initially thought the call fraudulent, even calling up the school to confirm his son's attendance. When the boy was reported absent from school, his parents proceeded to rush to the school in a panic, only to bump into their son, who had returned safely home.

It turned out that after making three threatening phone calls, Lin apparently thought his kidnapping scheme was completed. He lectured the boy a bit, telling him to “study hard” before sending him home.

Just as the boy's parents were overcome with relief at his safe return, they received the fourth phone call from kidnapper Lin, who designated the location at which they were to place the ransom. The parents, following police instructions, played along and met with Lin with red envelopes full of fake bills. Lin was arrested in less than an hour. Police surmised that his long-term drug-use must have contributed to the bizarre kidnapping attempt.

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