Trinidad national, 33-year-old Sawak Maraj, seems to have an obsession with kidnapping.
In 2001, Maraj was supposedly abducted in Trinidad and Tobago and his alleged kidnappers demanded a ransom of TT$200,000 from his parents, who own a real estate business in the twin-island republic. Another time he was allegedly kidnapped in the United States of America.
While the Trinidadian cops were never able to connect the dots, they did find it strange that in less than an hour after the ransom was paid, the alleged victim managed to run away from his so-called kidnappers and ended up in front of a police station.
And of course, Maraj did not see his kidnappers’ faces because they took his spectacles.
Fast forward 16 years later, the mechanical engineer was kidnapped once again but this time in Guyana and the case was cracked.
While investigators from the Guyana Police Force (GPF) Major Crimes Unit have already established that the Trinidadian national faked his own kidnapping, he continues to stick by his story of being abducted.
And, like the 2001 scenario, Maraj has told ranks that he did not see his kidnappers’ faces because they took away his spectacles, cash, phone and gold chain.
“This man changes his story by the seconds. He said the kidnappers took his glasses but last night (Friday) like he forget and went in his bag and pulled out his glasses to read his statement. Then when he was asked, he had some long story,” a police source said.
The 33-year-old man was taken back to the hotel at Madewini Resort up the Soesdyke/Linden Highway yesterday to provide a detailed account of his so-called kidnapping.
How it all started…
Maraj’s kidnapping was planned in his home country with the assistance of two other Trinidadians. It is unclear if they were the same persons who plotted his abduction 16 years ago.
The first Trinidadian arrived in Guyana on Wednesday and managed to organize with a local bus driver to move him around.
On Thursday, another Trinidadian arrived on a Caribbean Airlines flight and his accomplice picked him up from the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.
Before the two men left the airport, they booked Maraj’s ticket for 07:00am the following day.
The two men, accompanied by the bus driver, then went to the Ramada Princess Hotel and made a reservation for the 33-year-old man.
The reservation was made for Thursday night. One of the Trinidadians went into the hotel with the Guyanese bus driver to make the booking.
The Trinidadian wore a hat to hide his face.
Fake kidnapped victim arrives…
Shortly after 07:00 hrs on Friday, Maraj was seen walking out of the airport. He was greeted by the two Trinidadian men and they even hugged. They then walked towards the vehicle that was waiting in the parking a lot.
The three men then headed to the Madewini Resort where they were greeted by the staff before Maraj checked into his room.
The engineer came to Guyana under the pretext of attending an interview for a job with ExxonMobil in the local oil and gas sector.
The cutlass to neck…
Back in Trinidad, all was well until the engineer’s parents received a phone call that their son was being held hostage in Guyana and a ransom of TT $700,000 had to be paid to an account, which the alleged kidnapper claimed was in Colombia.
The parents were sent a photograph of a cutlass braced against the neck of their son, who was only clad in his boxers and a pair of socks.
Contact made with Guyana Police Force
Maraj’s frantic relatives immediately made contact with the Guyana Police Force and informed them of their son’s alleged kidnap.
Investigators acted immediately, and were able to not only track the call but also to narrow the location where the call was made.
While this was taking place, ranks checked the security camera footage at the Ramada Princess Hotel to see who had made the reservation for Maraj.
On the footage, the Guyanese bus driver’s face was visible. Having gotten the location where the ransom call was made, ranks went to the Soesdyke area, looking for abandoned houses or buildings with blue paintings (based on the picture Maraj’s family received.”
As luck would have it, someone in the area identified the bus driver and gave police his address—he lives about three doors from the hotel where the 33-year-old man was staying.
“Ranks went to his house but he wasn’t home so they got his number and called him and he came right away. He was showed the footage and he admitted that he collected the two Trinidadians and dropped them off at the hotel not far from him,” a source said.
Scene at the hotel…
As ranks arrived at the hotel some circled the facility, while others provided coverage for their colleagues to enter.
On entering the room where the ‘victim’ was being held, they found him sipping a fruit juice, relaxing. He immediately pulled a towel over his face.
Kaieteur News was informed that the cutlass that was in the photograph was found on a bed in the room. The other two Trinidadians had managed to escape just before the cops got there.
While the bus driver is cooperating with the police, they suspect that he might have tipped off the two ‘abductors’ that the police were on their trail.
“He (alleged victim) wasn’t tied or beaten or gagged. He was normal as ever,” a police source said.
The fake kidnap victim and the bus driver were escorted to the Criminal Investigation Unit where they were both grilled.
Despite the fact that the police confronted Maraj with all the details they managed to acquire, he maintained his story that he had been kidnapped. He alleged that the kidnappers took US$300 from him but ranks discovered the money hidden in the same room in which they found the 33-year-old man.
“This man lying through his teeth. We got him for sure but he keep changing his store like he trying to convince himself that he was actually abducted,” the source said.
Profile of the alleged kidnapped victim…
Maraj claimed that he has a degree in mechanical engineer from an Australian university but this is yet to be confirmed. He is 33 years old and has worked for eight months in his entire life and this was in 2012.
Maraj admitted that he does not have access to finances and that his parents would give him money whenever he needed.
To come here, his father gave him US$300 to pay for accommodation. “This man is a lazy man. He wanted money so he faked his kidnapping,” the source said.
Up to press time, ranks were checking immigration records in a bid to find the two Trinidadians who collaborated with Maraj.
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