Member of Parliament (MP) for Kingston Eastern and Port Royal Phillip Paulwell has confirmed reports reaching the Jamaica Observer that his 10-month-old child and her mother have been missing since Saturday.
Paulwell said the two, whose names are being withheld by the Sunday Observer, were seemingly abducted from their St Andrew home and have not been seen or heard from since.
“This is scary and comes at a time when I have been threatened by scammers who have hacked my phone and banking data and are demanding money to release them,” said Paulwell.
“I have made it clear that I will not give in to extortionists, but this is a serious and dangerous development. The matter has been reported to the police and I have given a full statement. I have also increased my security measures,” he said.
“I am worried sick over their safety and hope the police, who have launched a high-level investigation, will find the abductors and get them both home safe and sound,” added Paulwell, who sits on the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) benches in Parliament,
Last week Paulwell told the Observer that he found out that his bank accounts had been hacked and a substantial amount withdrawn after he attempted to make a withdrawal at a local financial institution.
He said checks with other financial institutions at which he holds accounts showed that attempts had also been made to hack them.
Paulwell was later contacted and told that his phone had been cloned and they had access to his e-mail, pictures, personal and professional messages.
He said the extortionist threatened to make public the information, including correspondence with his clients, unless he deposited US$150,000 to an account which was provided.
According to Paulwell, the extortion demands have been reported to local and international investigators who have launched a probe.
He told the Observer that the international investigators traced the account to which he was asked to pay the money to the United Kingdom and shut it down with some US$600,000.
The veteran MP said he refused to pay and last Sunday received reports from political and personal colleagues that they had been sent e-mail with images which were on his phone.
Paulwell said, despite the threats, he has no intention giving in to the demands from the scammers.
Editor’s note: The Jamaica Observer had previously reported that the extortionists demanded US$50,000. That should have been US$150,000.