SHAH ALAM (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - In a surprising turn of events, the taxi driver who "rescued" the five-year-old boy who was abducted in Kajang, of Malaysia's state of Selangor, has been arrested with three other men.
Police have recovered almost all of the RM300,000 (S$101,000) ransom money that was paid, said Selangor police chief Abdul Samah Mat.
"We have yet to determine if he is involved," he added.
Recounting the kidnapping drama, Comm Abdul Samah said about an hour and a half after the boy was abducted, the victim's father received a call from the kidnappers asking for RM300,000.
"The ransom was paid around 5pm the same day by the father. He dropped the cash off near a shopping centre at Saujana Impian, Kajang," he said during a press conference at Selangor police headquarters on Saturday (Oct 10).
The drama unfolded on Friday morning when two men stopped the boy's mother on the pretext of asking for directions.
While she was in the midst of explaining, the man's accomplice grabbed the boy and rushed to a black Proton Saga.
It is believed that the mother managed to get into the kidnappers' car, but they later dumped her at the side of the road near a market in Sungai Chua.
Datuk Abdul Samah said following the return of the boy to his parents, police tracked down the two men who abducted the boy, a 28-year-old and an Indonesian, 32, to the front of a shopping mall at Jalan Sungai Chua, Kajang.
"We arrested them around 10.10pm yesterday and seized the Proton Saga they used in the kidnapping. We also recovered RM30,000 in cash under the front seat," he said.
Two hours later, police caught another man, 45, who is believed to be the mastermind of the abduction at his house in Sungai Chua, 2km from the victim's house.
"We recovered RM61,550 from his house before we raided his printing shop at Taman Sepakat Indah, where another RM200,000 was found," he said, adding the man was said to be having financial difficulties.
The man is believed to have known the victim's father through some business dealings.
At the same time, police also picked up the taxi driver, 42, who returned the victim to assist in investigations.
All four men have been remanded for a week.
The taxi driver, who only wanted to be known as Nizam, drove up to the family's home in Taman Cahaya at 5.35pm on Friday, with the child in the back seat and called out to the parents in the house.
"I just found him walking on the road and I recognised him from the WhatsApp messages being circulated," Mr Nizam told The Star.
Comm Abdul Samah praised the public who made the case go viral in social media but called for caution.
"It is good that there is concern by the public but please be careful as sharing without checking with the police may have put the child's life in danger," he said.
The boy, who was sent for a check-up at Kajang Hospital, was given a clean bill of health except for some slight bruises on his arms.
His father, who was met outside their house, said he was not aware of the arrests and called for privacy.
Members of the media also managed to track down the elder brother of the mastermind, 57, who claimed he did not know that his brother had financial problems.
"He is a quiet man and never spoke out about his problems. The last time I saw him was during our father's funeral three weeks ago," said the brother.
He added that he was sad to hear about the case and his brother's arrest but said it was out of his hands.
"Whether or not he is involved, let the police do their job," he said.