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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) – A businessman was returned to his family late Thursday after his family allegedly paid the TT$270,000 (One TT dollar =US$0.16 cents) ransom demanded by his captors.

Police said that Gregory Laing, whose family owns the Puff N Stuff Bakery and the Trade Winds Hotel, south of here, was freed by his captors in the Beetham Gardens on Thursday evening, on the outskirts of the capital.

Laing, 54, who was then taken to the Eric Williams Medical Science Complex for a check-up, had minor bruises to the face as the police and members of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force combed the volatile Laventille area and the Beetham Garden searching for suspects.

Laing had been abducted during the early hours of Thursday when he went to open the bakery so the staff could begin preparations for the 6:00am (local time) opening.

Relatives confirmed that they had received a phone call from someone demanding a ransom of TT$270,000 for his safe return. The call was said to have originated from the Beetham Gardens area.

The Trinidad Guardian newspaper reported Friday that a “male relative dropped off TT$30,000 along a track in Phase 1, Beetham Estate at 8:00am. On dropping off the money, persons in the track instructed the relative to, “stand by for another call from us.” Hours later, the relative drove to Barataria and dropped off a bag containing TT$240,000 on the pavement. At 5:00pm, Laing was freed,” the paper reported.

San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello condemned the “reprehensible actions” by Laing's kidnappers, saying that while the south city had avoided the brunt of criminal activity in the country, the kidnapping further galvanised the need for all citizens to take back the city.

“Mr Laing is one of San Fernando's model business owners and is noted for providing employment to many of the citizens of San Fernando, while the charitable contributions of his company are a testament to Mr Laing's dedication towards the city of San Fernando,” Regrello said.

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