When viewed as a business, kidnap for ransom continues to out perform many conventional global businesses affected by the economic downturn. Kidnap for ransom is no longer solely carried out by unruly and opportunistic criminals in third world destinations. The business of kidnap for ransom has exploded and become a major growth area in several geographical regions, and organised crime lords and terrorist leaders are the new CEO's.
Editors Note: Dr. Mark D. Yates The British American Security expert has written extensively about kidnapping incidents during his 20 plus years involvement in extremely high risk security operations. He states; kidnapping for ransom is experiencing unprecedented growth, which in part is attributable to the current economic downturn. Just as thousands of conventional businesses have had to restructure and tap into new markets, so have the organised criminals and terrorists.
The road to riches are definitely paved with gold for the kidnappers, as many business executives travelling overseas on business are covered by a kidnap for ransom insurance policy which is usually underwritten by Lloyds of London. To provide reinforcement as to how fast the kidnap for ransom business is growing, the Texas Armoring Corporation (TAC), the world leader in lightweight armored passenger vehicles, announced today that requests for bulletproof cars, trucks, and SUVs have skyrocketed as a result of kidnappings-for-ransom across the globe.
As traditional sources of business finance dry up in the current credit crunch, criminals and terrorists are utilising conventional business marketing strategies to help them grow their businesses, and they are experiencing significant successes. It is too early to predict the outcome concerning the latest kidnappings, including the abduction of two French citizens from a hotel in Somalia yesterday. Early indications identified the two as businessmen, although it was later alleged they were military advisors. Either way without the security countermeasures of specialist security consultants providing close protection training and protective service cover and companies like Texas Armoring Corporation providing VIP's and corporate executives with some of the worlds leading armoured vehicles, the number of kidnap victims would be significantly higher.
In my experience when a prospective security client comes to me seeking close protection advice, or counter kidnapping training to be backed up with one of my close protection teams, they are generally fearful for their life, or the lives of their family members or business associates. The risk factor has generally escalated from a perceived threat to an actual threat. In an ideal world the very best time to advise security clients on counter kidnapping for ransom tactics is before the threat has escalated from perceived to actual. This allows my counter kidnapping specialist's time to plan and implement suitable advance security procedures.
One of the first security proposals considered is the purchase, or hire of an armoured vehicle. Contemporary kidnappers are generally well funded, well organised, well trained and exceptionally ruthless. In kidnap for ransom cases, their aim is to secure the ransom at all costs. Unfortunately a kidnap for ransom insurance policy cannot be viewed as a guaranteed release policy, as Murphy's Law prevails in the seedy world of kidnap for ransom. This means what can go wrong will go wrong. Your K&R policy is a trump card and one should never forget that kidnappers have frequently executed their victims.
Kidnapping of business executives for ransom should be initially countered in the vein of good security, i.e. maintain great access control and you minimise the risk exponentionally. Attackers will conduct surveillance on your access control systems and generally opt for a softer target elsewhere. Access control in kidnapping of business executives means, don't get kidnapped in the first place. Security cynics may well believe I am stating the obvious, however in my 20 plus years of global security experience in 42 countries, I've learnt that very few people studied 'Obvious 1 or Obvious 2' at school.
It is worth mentioning that although there is no such concept as 100% security, contracting in a security expert of close protection specialist will help to seriously reduce the risk. A professional security consultant will understand the relevance of purchasing an armoured vehicle specifically built to withstand even the most exotic of small arms fire and improvised explosive attacks. He or she will also understand the relevance of kitting out the VIP vehicle with a host of suitable security counter measures which reduces the risk even further.
When considering the concept of kidnapping of business executives for ransom, the reason I place so much emphasis on the VIP vehicle is simple. VIP's and/or business executives are most vulnerable to attack while linked to their vehicle, with the highest number of attacks occurring when the VIP enters or leaves his/her vehicle. Terrorists and organised kidnap for ransom gangs understand that the security team can protect a VIP better in a fixed building, than when travelling in a vehicle. Clients seeking conventional vehicle security products should never purchase security products on price. Buy the best quality items you can afford.
Copyright (c) 2009 Dr Mark Yates