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Kidnapped man escapes in Halle: police make four arrests

© Belga

Police have made four arrests after a man who was kidnapped in Brussels managed to free himself in Halle in Flemish Brabant.

Emergency services received a call at about 05.20 about a man in panic, running from door to door in Halle, claiming to have been kidnapped in Brussels and kept in a shed behind an empty house close to the A8 on-road. The man said he was unharmed, and had managed to escape his captors.

Local police came to the scene, together with special forces, and surrounded the house on the Edingensesteenweg. One kidnapper turned himself in immediately; a second had to be subdued by force.

Special unit police then entered the house and caught a third man. According to one report police sent in a drone with handcuffs, which he was politely invited to put on himself.

Later, it was reported that a fourth confederate had been discovered by a sniffer dog trying to hide in the attic.

The stand-off at the house concluded at around 11.00.

The victim is doing well and has yet to be questioned,” said Gilles Blondeau of the Halle-Vilvoorde prosecutor’s office. “The special units removed a total of three suspects from the premises.”

Since the original offence took place in Brussels, the case has been handed over to the prosecutor’s office of the capital.

It remains unclear what the motive for the kidnapping might have been. All five men, victim and alleged kidnappers, were being questioned on Sunday.

According to neighbours, the previous owner of the house died in July last year, and since then his sister visited from time to time to clean. The house has been on the market for about three weeks, and one potential buyer expressed an interest. Police said they will be examining a possible connection to the kidnapping. Last Monday the house was broken into, and an interior door forced.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times