Monday, August 13, 2007

Raised to be Fleeced

Heard the one about the sheep farmer from Australia:

Des Gregor, 56, has arrived back in Adelaide after being held hostage in the African nation of Mali for 12 days.

He had gone there expecting to marry a woman he had met over the internet, and pick up a US$86,000 (£43,000) dowry.

....Mr Gregor, a sheep farmer, set off to Mali on what he hoped would be an exotic adventure, during which he would not only meet his African bride but pocket a huge dowry in gold.

The target of his affections was a woman purportedly called Natacha, a Liberian refugee in her twenties whom he had met and fallen in love with over the internet.

Mr Gregor was picked up at the airport by men claiming to be Natacha's relatives but who turned out to be gangsters.

After taking him to a flat in the capital, Bamako, they stripped him naked, held a gun to his head and threatened to chop off his limbs with machetes.

They also demanded $86,000 as a ransom, or else he would be killed.

His relatives sounded the alarm when they started receiving strange e-mails asking for money.

At that point the Australian authorities decided to lay a trap of their own.

They managed to persuade the kidnappers that Mr Gregor could pick up the ransom money at the Canadian embassy.

It was there that he was rescued by the Australian federal police after being held for 12 days.

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