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Minister's uncle held hostage in carjacking

Published: 23 Sep 2011 11:46 GMT+02:00
Updated: 23 Sep 2011 10:52 GMT+02:00

A relative of a high-profile minister has become the latest victim in a car park kidnapping crime spree that has targeted wealthy Parisians.

The 69-year-old uncle of Bruno Le Maire, the agriculture minister, was attacked at around 5.30pm on Wednesday as he was leaving an underground car park in the wealthy 16th arrondissement of the capital, newspaper Aujourd'Hui reports.

He was confronted by two men who punched him in the face then stole his bank card and demanded to know his PIN code. The attackers then forced the minister's uncle into the trunk of their own car, a Renault Clio, before driving several kilometres.

"The man didn't know where he was being driven nor which route his attackers had taken," said a source close to the matter, quoted by the newspaper. "He was very shocked and suffered damage to his face as a result of the punches he received."

The kidnappers released the man at around 8pm in an industrial park in Bobigny, north east of Paris. He was described as "shaken" and taken to hospital by police.

The kidnap gang has struck at least four times in the last two months.

In August, two  separate victims, a man and a woman, were both ordered into the boots of their own cars and then driven around for several hours while the kidnappers withdrew money from their bank accounts. On each occasion, the victims were later abandoned in the outskirts of the city.

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Matthew Warren (news@thelocal.fr)

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