Judicial police make arrests in heavy-handed effort to collect a debt

Judicial agents have detained two women who are accused of using an informal and traditional method for debt collection. They are accused of having others kidnap the debtor and then taking him to a bank to get a withdrawal.

Judicial agents said that the man, a Venezuelan here on business, owed the mother of the women some 25 million colons or about $47,000. Three men abducted the 33-year-old Venezuelan after he left a bar one night last week. He was blindfolded and taken to a home in San Rafael de Alajuela and later to another home, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

The woman kidnappers took the man to a private bank Wednesday. They allowed the man to enter alone under threats, agents said. But he was able to make known his situation to bank officials.  Police arrived a short time later. They said he showed signs of having been hit in the face.

Investigators detained the women Thursday and conducted searches of their homes Saturday. They said they found a pistol among other evidence.

There are enough such cases of kidnapping for debt collection each year for the Judicial Investigating Organization to have a special section to handle such crimes. One reason for such kidnappings is that the courts have been slow and inefficient to handle civil debt cases.

Judicial agents respond to a kidnapping alert.

Judicial agents respond to a kidnapping alert.

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