Police commandos kill kidnappers – MANILA, Philippines

Philippine police commandos rescued a kidnapped Indian businessman Sunday and killed six of his suspected abductors in two gun battles near Manila, officials said.

Heavily armed police, backed by military-intelligence agents, raided the kidnappers’ hide-out in Calumpit township in Bulacan province north of Manila after midnight, sparking a brief clash in which three suspected abductors were killed, police Senior Supt. Isagani Nerez said. They rescued unharmed Avtar Singh, 52 years old, who was tied and blindfolded in a room.

Three other suspected kidnappers left the gang’s hide-out two hours before the raid and were killed in a shootout with police in Calumpit, about 30 miles north of Manila, Mr. Nerez said.

Mr. Singh, who has a money-lending company, was kidnapped Friday in Manila’s suburban Quezon city by four gunmen, who took his van. The kidnappers later called his wife and demanded a large ransom which was reduced after negotiations, Mr. Nerez said.

After the payoff along a Calumpit road Saturday, police commandos tailed the kidnappers and discovered their hide-out, he said. Police recovered the 75,000-peso ($1,625) ransom, three pistols and a shotgun from the hide-out, police said.

At least 47 suspected kidnappers have now been killed by authorities this year. About 60 others have been arrested in a government crackdown launched in response to a spike in kidnappings for ransom.