Friday, November 9, 2012

Brazilian soccer star's sister kidnapped

Three people have been arrested in Brazil following the kidnapping and release of the sister of the soccer star known as Hulk. The Brazilian international’s younger sister was kidnapped in front of her place of employment in the city of Campina Grande on Nov. 5 and released a day later near her home. According to police, among those arrested was the boss of the 22-year-old woman named Angelica Aparecida Vieira as well as a candidate for the city’s council.

Police stated that Vieira, who is a nutritionist at a local restaurant, was released unharmed after the alleged kidnappers argued about the amount of ransom money to ask her family for. Investigators said that one of the gang then decided to release her. According to police officer Marcos Paulo, the kidnappers were going to request just $150,000 in ransom money even though Hulk makes millions of dollars a year playing soccer for the Zenit St. Petersburg soccer club in Russia. Paulo said the criminals started to argue when they found out the ransom money wouldn’t be divided among them equally.

Paulo said one of the gang wasn’t happy with his cut of the money and decided to let Vieira go free. He added that the young lady told her captors that she would also give them more money if they let her go. Police said the kidnapping was planned by Vieira’s boss at the restaurant she works at and the council hopeful since they both had debts that needed to be paid off. Officers said the gang figured they’d earn some easy money by taking the young woman and holding her hostage.

In a bit of a twist to the tale, the kidnapping was actually reported by Vieira’s boss as he contacted police and told them that she had disappeared after she left his restaurant. However, police were suspicious and their investigation ended up leading them back to him. Paulo said after the three suspects were arrested they all confessed to the crime.

The 26-year-old Hulk was told by police that he should remain in Russia after he had heard that his sister had been kidnapped. He wasn’t expected to return to Brazil either after he found out that she had been released and wasn’t hurt during the ordeal. Hulk, whose real name is Givanildo Vieira de Souza, was sold by Portuguese club Porto in the summer to Zenit St. Petersburg in a move that was reportedly worth a total of $55 million. Members of the family said the kidnappers didn’t contact them during the incident and they asked the police stay clear of the case so they wouldn’t jeopardize her safety.

Hulk has seven sisters and they came from a poor family. However, things got better for them after he moved to Europe to play soccer. Unfortunately, several other soccer players have had family members kidnapped in the past. The father of Romario was abducted in 1994 and was held for seven days before being released. In addition, the mothers of three players, Luis Fabiano, Grafite, and Robinho have been kidnapped in the past 10 years as well as the sister of Ricardo Oliveira. Fortunately, all of them were released unharmed.

Ian Palmer

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