August 20, 1996 in Nation/World

Kidnapped Executive Found After $2 Million Ransom Paid

Associated Press
 

A kidnapped Japanese executive was found unharmed in an abandoned house Monday after a Mexican policeman delivered a $2 million ransom in a nighttime rendezvous with gunmen.

The kidnappers remained at large with the ransom - unmarked U.S. currency - but investigators believe they know who committed the crime, said Jose Luis Anaya Bautista, attorney general in the district just south of the border.

Mamoru Konno, 57, was tired but relieved when an officer found him in a basement in an area of Tijuana where the kidnappers told police he would be.

Authorities were not sure where Konno, the 57-year-old president of Sanyo Video Component Corp. USA, was confined for the nine days he was missing.

Anaya said the kidnappers are six members of a ring operating in Tijuana and Ensenada, 60 miles to the south. All are believed to be Mexican, but there was a possibility one was from South America, he said.

Sanyo officials confirmed that the company provided the ransom money.

The abduction illustrated a danger facing executives of wealthy international companies doing business along the border.

Gunmen abducted Konno, who supervises a manufacturing plant in Tijuana, on Aug. 10 after a company baseball game, and a ransom call was placed to his secretary.

Japan’s Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda thanked Mexican officials and said in a statement that he expected relations between Japan and Mexico would be advanced as a result.

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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