Tuesday, May 20, 2014, 15:55
Pakistani Taliban kidnap Chinese cyclist
By Agencies

 Pakistani Taliban kidnap Chinese cyclist

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan - The Pakistani Taliban have kidnapped a Chinese tourist on a cycling tour of the country, police and Taliban sources said Tuesday, the latest in a series of abductions aimed at raising money for rival Taliban factions.

Dawn news said on its website that the abducted tourist was on his way from Pakistan's eastern Lahore city to southwest Quetta city when he went missing in Darban area of Dera Ismail Khan, a district located in the country's northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The tourist, named Hong Xudong, was traveling in the country on his bicycle. Police found Hong's bicycle and his other belongings in the area, and a search operation was under way.

Officials said that Hong was kidnapped around 2:30 pm ( local time) on Monday afternoon.

Pervez Khattak, chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, took notice of the incident and directed police to rescue the tourist, according to the report.

An official at the Chinese embassy in Pakistan, when approached by Xinhua, said it was contacting Pakistan's relevant departments to verify the incident.

Abdullah Bahar, a senior Taliban commander, told Reuters the man was in their custody. "We kidnapped the Chinese tourist. He is now in our hands," he said. "We will demand the release of our fighters who are in government custody."

Daraban police said they were searching for the man.

Kidnaps are rising in Pakistan, although it is unusual for Chinese to be targeted. Gunmen in January shot dead six guards protecting a Spanish round-the-world cyclist in a remote area of western Pakistan. He escaped unhurt, his family said.

The Pakistani Taliban, who are seeking to set up an Islamic state, are allied to but not the same as the Afghan Taliban, who have repeatedly called on their Pakistani allies to resolve their differences.