There's a new get rich quick mantra doing the rounds these days in Nepal. Fake your own abduction and call well-off relatives asking for ransom. If they fall into the trap, your plan gets accomplished. If not, you land up in police custody.
On Wednesday newspapers carried reports of a Class XII student who tried the trick, and failed. Birendra Sahi, 19, called up his relatives asking them to deliver NRs 1 million to his abductors at a designated place if they wanted him home safe.
Since his family was not rich, Sahi had expected his brother-in-law to pay the ransom. But the brother-in-law informed the police who after some hours found the abducted teenager sleeping in a hotel room. He confessed everything saying he wanted to start a grocery store.
This is the second such instance in a week. Police had arrested a 38-year old some days ago on charges of abducting himself to extract NRs 500,000 from his brother-in-law.
There are some exceptions to this trend. Two months ago police arrested a 36-year-old who had managed to abduct himself to escape repaying two youths from whom he had fleeced NRs 100,000 each with false promises.
The police maintain promulgation of the human trafficking and abduction act four years ago and a crackdown on kidnapping rackets has led to a decrease in abductions. But there is a rise in cases where the kidnapper and kidnapped is the same person.
Of the 48 cases of abduction registered with the police in Kathmandu and neighbouring areas in the past two years, 29 have turned out to be false. Police records show that most of these fall under two categories.
Fake abductions are generally the handiwork of students who want to get rich quick or businessmen who after having failed in their ventures try to con those whom they owe money.
But not all abductions are fakes. In August, a 20-year-old girl was abducted and shot dead. It later turned out that the victim's male friend suspected her of cheating and promised to pay her killers NRs 2 million for her murder. The family started receiving ransom calls after she was killed.