Pigeon-nappers nabbed, after NT$1 mil. ransom

Pigeon-nappers nabbed, after NT$1 mil. ransom

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The pigeon post is back in use in Taiwan, except this time around the ancient method of communication was used to transport ransom and messages by a criminal ring that Taipei City police cracked down on yesterday.
Police arrested two suspects, Chung Jung-chi and Pao Wen-chien, at a residence in Taoyuan County for kidnapping racing pigeons. Preliminary estimates indicate that the criminal operation amassed nearly NT$1 million in ransoms for the kidnapped fowl.

According to police, the criminal group set up a pigeon-catching net in Taipei County’s Ruifang Township. The group would then demand between NT$1,800 and NT$2,500 per pigeon caught from its owner. Instead of collecting the ransom themselves and risk identification, however, the kidnappers would send their own homing pigeons to collect the ransom, attaching a tube made from a plastic straw on the pigeon’s ankle where the money can be inserted.

The collecting pigeon would then be boxed and dropped off in a specified location, usually either at an intersection or sky bridge. The kidnapped pigeon’s owner was instructed to insert the money in the money-holding device and let the pigeon go free.

Police said they were first tipped about the operation over two months ago. After the police made the arrests, they also took into custody four pigeons used as ransom collecting agents.

Popular in Taiwan, pigeon racing is a sport that pits specially trained homing pigeons against each other in a race that measures distance traveled and time taken to return to a designated spot. Professional racing pigeons are identified by ID tags and are often fitted with a band that has a tiny chip that can be read when the bird returns home.

Pigeon-nappers nabbed, after NT$1 mil. ransom

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