Worldwide kidnaps for ransom reached a record peak in 1999, according to a survey by specialist insurer, the Hiscox Group.
The Hiscox Kidnap Monitor shows that the number of reported worldwide kidnaps for ransom rose from the 1998 peak of 1,690 to 1,789 last year, a rise of six per cent, with 92% of incidents taking place in the top 10 riskiest countries.
Latin America tops the table as the most likely region to be kidnapped in, accounting for over three quarters of all incidents recorde.d last year. Despite the Former Soviet Union's determination to stamp out crime, it continued to attract record levels of kidnapping, with 105 reported in 1999, an increase of 84% on 1998.
Overall, the last eight years have seen reported worldwide kidnaps for ransom rise by 70%. The total number of kidnaps is probably considerably higher because many incidents - particularly in developing countries - are dealt with privately.