A new breed of violent criminals is using laptops to transfer cash from bank accounts of their kidnapped victims.
Samuel Mwangi, 29, is still shaken after the thugs slit his throat on Friday night before emptying his account of Sh500,000, throwing into disarray his wedding planned for Saturday.
In what appears to be sophisticated cyber crime that has spread even to rural towns, the criminals are targeting bank account holders and draining all their savings.
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Mwangi, a clinical officer, was leaving work at around 5.30pm on Friday when he was abducted at Mung’etho in Narumoru by three men armed with a pistol and a pen knife.
The three smartly dressed men masqueraded as Good Samaritans who offered the medic, who works at a local dispensary, a lift to Narumoru.
That they called him by his title ‘daktari’ and offered to give him a lift in the white Toyota NZE whose registration he gave as only KBW.
He intended to get to his parents home in Ichuga in Nanyuki, and then travel to Mombasa to finalise plans for his wedding, which will take place this weekend.
The driver was a dark-skinned lanky man in his late 20s and on the passenger seat was an older man, light in complexion and stocky.
However, after a short distance, the car stopped to pick up another man who was identified as a close friend of the driver and who sat with Mwangi in the back seat.
But the friendly mood in the car changed after the third man boarded. The driver diverted to a rough road, which leads to Aguthi village.
“I told the trio that I was in a rush since I had to go to Nanyuki before travelling to Nairobi and Mombasa, but the driver barked at me saying they wanted to pass by another place and then proceed to Narumoru,” said Mwangi.
The man seated next to him produced a handkerchief soaked in a chemical that he suspects to be chloroform and covered his nose with it, knocking him unconscious.
“I was unconscious for about 30 minutes and when I recovered, I found out that we were in a forested area and one of the men was holding a gun to my face. He threatened to kill me if I didn’t provide the PIN for my Equity Bank Internet account.
The man in the front passenger seat had also moved to the back seat where they sandwiched me,” he recalls.
Apart from the gun, one of the men had a laptop with internet connectivity using a modem.
“What surprised me is that they did not ask for my account number or whether I had an internet account. They just wanted my pin number,” he said. Mwangi hesitated, and the men held him tight, and even went to the extent of slitting his neck.
“As a medical practitioner, I knew it would only take me three minutes of bleeding to death if they cut the carotid artery and I gave out my PIN.
The thugs transferred over Sh500,000 to another account, and they then covered me with the same chemical. I blacked out again,” he said.
What amazes Mwangi is that the thugs did not steal the Sh700 he had in his pockets and another Sh9,000 he had stashed in his socks.
Mwangi woke up at around 9.30pm in a deserted area where they had dropped him.
He walked for about 10 minutes towards the Nairobi-Nanyuki road where a boda boda cyclist took him to Narumoru Police Station. Mwangi says he suspects the criminals had been provided with his account details, probably by a bank employee.
“I don’t understand how they acquired my account number, noting that the money was deposited to my account as part of contributions towards my upcoming wedding about two weeks ago.
I think the criminals had been provided with my details and they only wanted my PIN to transfer all the money I had,” he said.
Mwangi boarded a matatu to his parents’ home in Nanyuki, before reporting the matter at Nanyuki Police Station. He later sought treatment at Nanyuki Teaching and Referral Hospital.
On Saturday morning, Mwangi reported the robbery at his Nanyuki Equity Bank branch, where a quick trace indicated that the funds were transferred to numerous accounts within Equity and another bank.
“The bank staff told me they will work with the police in conducting further investigations, but my worry is who had given out my bank account details,” he said.