- New styled criminal activities have brought fears of Chinese clan based business attacks in Lesotho.
This follows a case opened by police last week of kidnappings and ransom demands perpetuated by Chinese nationals on fellow countrymen, making away with an estimated US$ 15,000 as well as groceries.
Police have already arrested two of the alleged kidnappers while a chase is on for more of perpetrators believed to be belonging to a faction of the Chinese criminal clans operating in Lesotho and across the borders.
Though Lesotho police could not divulge more details on the operations of the Chinese clans – mafia type of groupings – they have confirmed that there are factions in the country seemingly competing on business grounds, but employing criminal tactics to take each other out of business.
In last week’s attack, a group of suspects believed to be working together as businessmen-cum-hitmen, allegedly hijacked and kidnapped other Chinese nationals, who were on their way, on the Mokhotlong mountain road, back from purchasing stocks in the town of Botha-Bothe, 124 km from Maseru.
Police said they later found an abandoned vehicle in Maseru, with a passport belonging to one of the suspects. Two pistols believed to have been used by the suspects and another one belonging to the alleged kidnapped persons were also found in the vehicle.
According to Lesotho police, the incidence has brought in a new dimension of criminal activities in the small mountain Kingdom, especially with kidnappings for ransom.
This may not be an isolated case, with a more similar case in late 1990’s, where a Chinese merchant family was wiped out by their fellow countryman, now serving a long jail term in Maseru central prison.
Chinese merchants have virtually taken over retain business in Lesotho, even entering some of the most remote areas of the country, despite widespread outcry by locals saying all foreign business people should only be allowed to run large businesses from level above retail licensing.
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