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Okinawans kidnapped, then freed in San Paulo

Date Posted: 2005-12-22

An Okinawan woman and her daughter were kidnapped last month in Brazil, then freed after her husband paid a ransom.

Yoshiharu Chibana, 60, and his wife Noriko, operate a travel tourism agency in San Paulo, South America’s largest City. Officials say Noriko and her 23-year-old daughter had gone to the office to open it November 10th, when they were confronted in a parking lot. The two were taken by the arms by strangers, forced into a car, and kidnapped.

Kidnappers contacted Yoshiharu, demanding payment. He refuses to tell what happened, or whether he paid a ransom at all. Police are not releasing information either.

The 52-year-old Noriko was released last week, and the daughter several days later. Yoshiharu is a Yomitan native, while wife Noriko grew up in Naha City. He is vice president of the Okianwa Prefecture Peoples Association in Brazil.

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