KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A former Malaysian civil servant who staged his own kidnap was arrested just as he was withdrawing the 'ransom' from an automated teller machine (ATM).
The man, who had recently lost his job, sent a text message to his 22-year-old wife from a phone number unknown to her.
The message claimed her husband was with a group of men and would only be released once a ransom of RM8,000 (S$3115) was paid into a bank account.
He even sent her a selfie he had taken as 'proof-of-life' after he was supposedly abducted on May 7.
After some negotiation, the woman managed to obtain a RM3,000 'discount' on the ransom and banked in RM5,000 into the account on May 15.
Kota Kinabalu city police chief Jauteh Dikun said the wife subsequently lodged a report and a team was set up to investigate the case.
"On the morning of May 16, we placed men at several ATM locations to nab the kidnappers, but we arrested the 'victim' himself at about 3pm in Kota Kinabalu instead," he said.
Mr Jauteh said the man staged his own kidnap to get money from the wife and her family after he was laid off.
"He also admitted that he planned everything on his own and no one else was involved," he said, adding that the man did not tell his wife that he lost his job.
Mr Jauteh said the man is now being investigated for cheating.