Hostage Taking

Hostage takers are usually better organised than run-of-the-mill muggers and street criminals, so harder to avoid once an attack begins. It is however possible to take precautions that will at the very least, make it harder for a gang to make a successful attack. They might even decide that you’re too much trouble, and go for an easier target.

The most obvious precaution is not to go to place where there is hostage taking…  The next is to avoid looking affluent and worth any sort of ransom.  Although the most expensive hotels may seem like safer places to stay, it’s easy to spot likely targets.  Hotel security officers may be helpful – or possibly not…

But apart from never looking affluent, carrying or wearing expensive items, avoiding routines is vital; the business executive who leaves the hotel or apartment at exactly the same time every morning or day of the week, is easy meat. Be unpredictable – sometimes taking a cab, sometimes a bus or underground train. Walk part of the way, then get a cab – but only ever an official licensed vehicle.  Kidnappers will always watch their subjects before striking, so if you can make that difficult for them, they may give up.

It’s also hard to follow somebody, and to do it without losing the subject or being detected requires more than one person.  So watching out for being followed, along with being random, taking different routes, suddenly cutting across city blocks through crowded department stores – and other disruptive and unpredictable behaviours,  is helpful.  But just remember, if you arrive or leave from the same place at the same time every day, your frustrated tail has only to go there and wait for you…

But if in any doubt about anything; an appointment, the cab the concierge has ordered, the man who arrives to fix the telephone or read the meter…  cancel the meeting, get out of the cab, don’t answer the door, or check out of the hotel.  If you don’t know what’s going on, feel insecure or uncertain, become unpredictable, and make yourself as unnoticeable as possible.

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